The campus of Shady Hill School contains roughly twenty discrete classroom buildings and equally intimate exterior spaces distributed in an informal composition on eleven acres. This independent, coeducation day school was founded in 1919 and provides primary through middle school education for approximately five hundred students.
The new arts complex is designed as a quadrangle enveloping a central open space. The courtyard is common circulation space for casual student gatherings, including an outdoor classroom for the nearby wood shop, studio art, and music classes. Prior to the schools founding, much of the campus was a peat bog that bordered the Charles River. At the outset of this project, the wetland areas were subdivided into small, isolated fragments and clogged with invasive plant species. Our team worked with the civil engineers to reconnect the natural wetland ecosystem and restore native vegetation. In the context of this habitat, the team recognized opportunities for extended learning where students can observe, explore, and find artistic inspiration in the environment around them..
The design reconfigures parking and on-site traffic for both pedestrian and vehicular circulation, connecting this edge landscape with the campus. With wetlands adjacent to the project site, the design incorporates stromwater collection and treatment as well as a palette of native and wetland appropriate plants.