Phased reuse of a rural conference center for the New England Innovation Academy
NEIA, 2020

A rural and long-vacant mid-century corporate conference facility is adapted to become a secondary school focused on innovation through equal attention to integration with the natural, social, and digital context in 2020. We are interested in the use of the existing buildings as infrastructure for a buffer and building wrapper that blends and merges existing buildings with the natural context.

Careful recalibration of the entry sequence includes the addition of a new pavilion to reorient arrival for students and guests. A central semi-conditioned conference hall is transformed into a performance space and multi-use forum at the heart of the core learning building. The forum walls, clad with pre-existing terracotta tile, are punctured to enable views from the surrounding classrooms and circulation space.

The core learning center exterior facade is also punctured and wrapped to increase natural light and visual porosity to the landscape, differentiating it from the ribbons of regular punched openings in tile facades across other buildings on site. The new interior loggia formed by the facade wrapper becomes a primary space for research programs, informal learning, and collaboration.

Site circulation is intensified and transformed to accommodate not only vehicles but also a recreational pathway punctuated by sculpture and exterior learning laboratories. A program of rooftop landscapes compliments the new orientation to the site and provides an additional type of learning landscape.

Our work focused on site circulation and access to landscape, the transformation of the main learning building, and addition of the entry pavilion, which becomes a visual marker for the merging of natural, social, and digital landscapes. It is designed as the first phase of a multi-phase project that will continue to decrease its carbon footprint and slowly adapt building to environment as it grows and changes over time. This work follows on NEIA strategic design.

Elizabeth Christoforetti, Nathan Fash, Trent Fredrickson, Keith Hartwig, and Hyunsuk Yun

NEIA_entry pavilion
second skin