Four Centerbrook Projects Win Five AIA Awards

CENTERBROOK, Conn. -- Four projects by Centerbrook Architects – one on a major university campus, two for independent schools, and the fourth a private residence – garnered five design awards recently from chapters of the American Institute of Architects. Centerbrook took four of the sixteen honors given out by the Connecticut AIA, twice as many as any other firm. The Honor Award from AIA New England for Kroon Hall was one of four top projects singled out from 271 entries. The accolades recognized buildings from Texas to New England at: Yale University in New Haven, Conn. St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Mass., Lakewood House in the Northeast.

Kroon Hall, the new home for the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, also captured an AIA Connecticut award. Opened in January, the building is expected to receive the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified rating of platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council. Mark Simon, FAIA, was the partner in charge for Centerbrook, which as Executive Architect collaborated on the project with the Design Architects, Hopkins Architects of London. The “greenest” building on the Yale campus, it is projected to use 50 percent of the energy of a conventionally designed academic building of comparable size.

“The way the building performs is essential to this beautiful, cathedral-like structure,” the jurors noted. “Part of its performance is the creation of a destination on the campus. The long walls of its idiosyncratic, barn-like form define this compelling building.”

The new Renaissance Hall at BB&N also involved renovation of existing buildings, a new main entrance, and an addition organized around a central courtyard to provide a greater sense of welcoming and community. Jim Childress, FAIA, was the Centerbrook partner in charge of the project.

“This exercise in campus building is marked by a deft, vernacular, but not prescribed, identifiable, style.” the jurors commented. “It is more free form, but it creates a consistent place, starting with the welcoming new entry and extending to its piazza-like open courtyard.”

Set in a forest facing a small lake, the Lakewood House is oriented toward the water and the sun to provide both views and passive solar heat that is retained by interior masonry walls and chimney masses. The house features folding glass doors leading outdoors to porches, a two-story hall that also serves as a grand entry, and a dining table designed by Mark Simon, the Centerbrook partner in charge of the project.

Citing a whimsical, log-structured sun-screen, the jurors wrote: “The house draws you in because of the fineness of its structure. The viewer wants to see beyond the whimsical, unique sun-screen, but wishes it to remain in place because of its total integration with the structure. The fabric of the building is well thought out, and its scale attracts the viewer.”

The buildings at St. Mark’s School replace three existing structures, melding with the existing campus aesthetic and reorganizing its spaces. Standing at the head of an expanded, reconfigured quadrangle, Centennial Hall is the school’s new icon building, with an axial octagon that rises to the tallest height allowed by zoning. The project was certified LEED Silver. Chad Floyd, FAIA, was the Centerbrook partner in charge of the project.

The award citation read: “The excellence of this project as an urban design endeavor moved the jury to single it out. It transforms a disparate group of buildings into a campus. While each new building can stand on its own merits, together they create a superlative effect.”