Plymouth, NH

Holderness School


Master Plan – Summer 2016
Academic Phase – Fall 2020


Holderness School




600 acres

The Toolkit for Long-Term Learning

Nestled in the woods of Plymouth, NH, the Holderness School revels in natural beauty on its 600 acre campus. Its highly advantageous setting plays a significant role in the campus’ long-term master plan, where the impacts of building and development align with the school’s larger mission to fuel the intellectual passions of its college-bound students.  Guiding the master planning process, Warehaus viewed the campus plan through multiple lenses. The school’s strategic plan, the vision of the stakeholders and Warehaus’ professional experience blended to create five phases of work.

The Academic Phase is the first area of focus, further reinforcing Holderness School’s mission to lead through learning. The design and construction of a new science facility focused on innovation, flexibility, collaboration and a thoughtful connection to the outdoor setting.  The school’s current infrastructure has significant challenges, from restrictive classroom sizes to outdated technology – not ideal for supporting 21st learning. A new facility allows for the alignment of pedagogical goals with spaces that support them.

With extensive experience designing education spaces, the team at Warehaus encouraged new ways of thinking about learning to gain insights into their future spatial needs. They conducted extensive interviews with students, faculty and administration to create a collaborative learning spaces toolkit – lists of ideal features and benefits aligned to each type of learning space. The program of the new building utilizes the toolkit for the campus academic program, including 11 different learning space types, including seminar classrooms, wet and dry labs, maker spaces, break-out spaces, digital labs, galleries, and faculty planning spaces. Classrooms and laboratories are adaptable and spaces of various sizes are adjacent to classrooms to support the flexibility of individual, peer to peer and small group learning.

From its life cycle costs to its future adaptability, the building will support learning over the next 50 or more years at Holderness. With access to ample daylight, use of renewable energy and highly efficient mechanical systems and LED lighting throughout, the design is mindful of the building’s sustainability and connection to the outdoors. The conceptual design of the new science building aided the school’s fundraising efforts by illustrating the promise of an enhanced academic program.

They also created a new, centralized academic quad by evaluating existing buildings, making recommendations for renovations and re-design as well as mapping out plans for future facility needs. Individual spaces, such as social spaces in dormitories, were optimized during the day, while classroom configurations in academic buildings allowed for multiple uses.

The master plan continues to evolve, incorporating flexibility for new insights and shifts in academic priorities. With a strong focus on building an innovative learning community, Holderness School can carry out its vision for generations to come.

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