Architecture, Structural Engineering
The Davis Center Elevates Academics at Holderness School
Nestled in the woodlands of Plymouth, New Hampshire, the Holderness School revels in natural beauty on its 600 acre campus. The school’s highly advantageous setting plays a significant role in the long-term campus master plan, where facility development and improvements align with the larger mission to fuel the intellectual passions of its college-bound students.
Holderness School’s current infrastructure includes restrictive classroom sizes and outdated technology, and many traditional facilities are closed off to the outside, with little glazing to provide natural light and views of the environment. The design of their new academic facility not only aligns pedagogical goals with the spaces that support them, but also integrates innovation, flexibility and collaboration and thoughtfully connects programming with the outdoors.
Placement of the new academic building plays a key role in both campus navigation and the definition of an academic quad. Prior to integration of the new building, there was only one main entrance to campus, which forced all traffic to flow one direction. A new entrance and connecting road were created to improve traffic flow and offer a convenient path to the nearby Interstate Route. Upon entrance to campus, you are greeted by the view of the new Academic Building.
From life cycle costs to future adaptability, the Academic Building positions Holderness School as a premier establishment for learning for the next 50 or more years. 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 positioning of the Winter Garden frames the most captivating view on campus, purposeful in its biophilic design intentions.
Extensive interviews were conducted 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. Classrooms and laboratories throughout are adaptable, providing resources to facilitate direct instruction, node classrooms, and presentations. Break out spaces are positioned adjacent to classrooms to support the flexibility of individual, peer to peer and small group learning with moveable walls and whiteboards. Wet and dry labs cater to hands-on instruction and demonstrations.
Photography ©Tom Holdsworth