A New England Legacy with a Modern Touch
Rachel Carson Music and Campus Center
As part of a campus master plan at this quintessential New England boarding school, the original heating plant, dating from the early 1900s, was being modernized and decentralized. As a result, a large part of the building would be underutilized and the decision was made to leverage this ideal location – directly in the center of the campus – to create beautiful spaces where students, teachers and visitors would enjoy gathering.
The school’s music program had grown dramatically in recent years, and this set of circumstances allowed them to create dedicated space for music students to thrive. In this adaptive reuse project, the iconic industrial smokestack, along with other elements of the original building, were preserved to connect this important part of Middlesex School’s past with a vision of a vibrant music and social space moving into the future.
Mindful of school founder Frederick Winsor’s mission to always “find the promise that lies hidden,” school leadership joined with a visionary architect and innovative building partners to design the Rachel Carson Music and Campus Center.
“The school was not interested in tearing down old buildings and building new ones. The old smoke stack is part of the story about the transition away from this building into something that’s academic and sustainable. The building has transformed itself.”
– Paul Viccica, Principal of CBT Architects
The Rachel Carson Music and Campus Center has created a new hub of activity on the Middlesex School campus. This stunning new space houses music practice rooms, academic classrooms, a recital hall and the Winter Garden, which has become the crossroads gathering place for everyone on campus as they go about their busy days. One of the primary goals was to illuminate the building both during the day and night to attract passersby and communicate the vibrancy of the space. A wide array of windows were chosen to accomplish that goal. The windows are sized to allow natural light to stream inside during the day, and to allow the interior illumination to act as a beacon for students at night.
An essential part of Middlesex School’s master plan are the windows. While the much-loved historical look has been meticulously maintained in the renovation of these iconic buildings, the operational ease of the new windows makes a dramatic difference in quality of life for those living and working on campus. There is no air conditioning at the school, so operable windows were key to allow students to enjoy fresh air. In several places, new Marvin windows replaced 90-year-old weight and pulley windows. Various window shapes, sizes and trims are found throughout the buildings and all new windows must meet these design specifications. In addition, they must offer superior performance including modern weather stripping and Low E coatings to help maintain energy efficiency.
“With so many legacy buildings in New England, we pride ourselves in being able to meticulously recreate historical details while providing the level of performance and energy efficiency required by today’s standards.” – Rick Bertolami, JB Sash
Middlesex School has assembled a team of experts who work collaboratively to continuously make their master plan a reality. Chief Operating Officer Matt Crozier is interested in partnering with people who listen, innovate to meet the school’s goals and have a reputation for being the resource that will be there for the school far into the future. He looks for those who will provide historical drawings to reference for projects as they move forward, and he values consultation on solutions that make sense as far as aesthetics, performance and operability.
JB Sash, with its 82-year history of window expertise, has been a key partner on the Middlesex School projects. JB Sash offers essential jobsite assistance from planning through installation. In concert with the Marvin manufacturing team in Warroad, Minnesota, JB Sash collaborates to ensure that the exacting requirements are delivered as promised. The evolving campus landscape is a testament to the Middlesex School administration and their creative partnerships.
“One of the great things about Marvin is their ability to provide a full array of custom solutions, from very traditional to a more modern look, all with superior performance.” – Dave Kern, JB Sash
Architect: CBT Architects
Developers: CCE Floyd + Windover Development
Builder: Windover Construction
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