Foote School Science and Technology Building

New Haven, Connecticut

The new science and technology classroom and laboratory building at Foote School is designed to be a state-of-the-art sustainable facility. The building uses both common sense passive strategies as well as active renewable energy systems to create a building that is a dynamic teaching tool for students. Deep overhangs and wood louvers wrap the southern and western exposures, preventing heat gain in the warm months while allowing sunlight in during the winter. The classrooms and labs are lined with large walls of glass, allowing a heightened awareness of the daily traverse of the sun and reducing the use of electric lighting through day-lighting. A louvered awning facing the playfield both diffuses the daylight entering the western classrooms and operates as a solar-thermal hot water system. Operable windows set high in the walls, assisted by ceiling fans, encourage cross-ventilation through the stack effect. The super-insulated skin combined with PV roof panels reduces the buildings dependency on fossil fuels.

The building’s placement and programming was developed with the school while studying the campus as a whole. The building engages and activates the campus creating a series of outdoor rooms and facilitating fluid connections through the campus and through the interior of the building. Benches of reclaimed wood line the wide and undulating circulation spaces, wrapping corners and adding to the fluidity of the space, while also creating intimate spaces for socializing and small group learning. 

At its southern edge the deck is met by stepped garden terraces that bring the ground plane up to the second floor and also serve as an informal amphitheater.