Foote School Art, Music, Black Box Theater, and Gymnasium

New Haven, Connecticut

The Foote School is a K–9 curriculum with an intimate modern campus set within a residential neighborhood in New Haven. In 2000, through an intensive, community-driven master planning process—including New England style “town meetings” with faculty and students—Thompson & Rose Architects sited and designed a new arts and music building, gymnasium, and black box theater complex. These were woven into the tight constraints of the existing school fabric, allowing for the creation of new and varied exterior spaces. The new buildings are configured to address and delineate the open spaces of the campus, which shift in scale and use. As the tallest structures on campus the new buildings create a strong sense of place at the center of the campus, while their wood cladding and varied fenestration help maintain the school’s intimate scale.

The arts and music building includes one floor of studio classrooms with high ceilings and abundant natural light and one floor of acoustically sensitive music classrooms and practice rooms. Both floors connect directly to the outside for outdoor classroom activities. The courtyard framed by the theater and the arts and music building faces south and has become a lively gathering space that extends the seasons children can be outdoors in New England.

The black box theater is the home for the school’s active performing arts program, and is designed for maximum flexibility in staging, lighting, and seating. The complex includes workshops for set construction and storage. Backstage changing rooms are multipurpose, shared with the gym facilities.  

As a Thompson and Rose Architects project, Maryann Thompson shepherded this project through programming, and conceptual, schematic and design development phases.