David Lamb Photography
Size:160,000 square feet
Awards:AIA WHV Citation Award
The new Seven Bridges School is a 160,000 sf middle school that was built on a wooded 43-acre site. The campus is accessed from a long uphill winding driveway paralleling a feeder brook adjacent to the Croton Reservoir. The driveway connects into a perfectly circular loop road that wraps around the new school and lower athletic playing field. Symbolically, this physical and educational plan represents the development of both mind and body together. The building consists of classic materials including brick, cast limestone, natural wood detailing, and copper roofs. The design nestles into the slope of the site, and is one story on the uphill side and two-and-a-half stories from the approach up the driveway.
The interior planning principal is based on a house plan, in which students are divided into smaller learning environments. This is defined in the floor plans by four distinct classroom house wings that are joined by central common spaces including the library, the auditorium and two large multipurpose common rooms. Light, color, and the relationship between inside and outside were tremendously important in the overall design concept. There are two landscaped courtyards for both individual meditation and group use. Their primary purpose however is to bring light and a sense of natural setting into the core of the building. Not only do the colors of nature exist on the campus, the corridors are highlighted with both warm and cool neutral colors to accent the otherwise classic, more natural tones of the building materials.
One of the greatest design accomplishments was the design of a library that sits directly over the auditorium. The auditorium required an 80-foot clear structural span, and the live loads of library equipment, books and users were significant. To accomplish the goals of both spaces, a bow string roof truss was designed that supports not only the roof weight live and dead loads, but also the floor of the library. By suspending the library floor from the roof, no columns were required in the auditorium below.