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haggerty elementary school

The challenge at the Haggerty Elementary School was to modernize its physical plant and double its size while preserving the character of the building and the residential scale of the surrounding area. The client desired new core facilities and the integration of new technology despite the constraints of a one acre site. Additionally, the building required a flexible design to function as both a school and a public community center.

After studying the feasibility of renovation and addition, it was determined that an entirely new building would be most advantageous and cost effective. To gain the support of local residents, the exterior of the new building echoes the old. The interior, however, fulfills the needs of a modern school, with a new library/media center at its heart. Classrooms network out from the library, paired around shared bathrooms, cubbies, storage, and tutorial areas.

The larger core spaces (e.g., the gym, cafeteria, etc.) are clustered in a partially recessed two-story wing. Its low profile minimizes impact on abutters and makes it possible to secure the rest of the building when the core facilities are open to the local community after hours. A skylit circulation spine encircles the centrally located gym. This spine doubles as a viewing balcony and an acoustic barrier. Rooftop light monitors reflect glare-free daylight into the gym and safely enclose a rooftop play terrace.

The result is an extremely compact, efficient layout that is pleasant and easy to navigate. The natural daylight, stained wood trim, and soft warm colors, create a calm, nurturing, non institutional environment that is unusual in a public school.