The Year in the Rearview Mirror

Highlights of the past year for Centerbrook Architects include: a new home for the School of Law at Quinnipiac University; the opening of the $135 million Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine; and signing the AIA 2030 Commitment to design carbon neutral projects within 16 years. The Hotchkiss Biomass Heating Facility was chosen as one of the “Most Ingenious Works of Architecture in 2014” by the Huffington Post.

The year also saw the elevation of talented architectural staff to leadership positions of Principal and Associate Principal in the firm and the creation of designated in-house design and practice communities to advance various facets of firm-wide expertise.

Among other buildings that Centerbrook completed in 2014 were: a STEM classroom building and community center for the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in Missouri; a new academic and science wing, along with extensive renovations to the main building for University School in Ohio; and student cottages, rehearsal, theater, and support buildings for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut.

Green roofs from two Centerbrook projects ⎯ The Addison Gallery of American Art and the Hotchkiss School Biomass Central Facility ⎯ were featured in the book “Green Walls Green Roofs: Designing Sustainable Architecture” from Images Publishing. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine featured the Ocean House on its June cover: the article chronicled the saga of the historic hotel’s resurrection by Centerbrook: from a long decline and demolition in 2005 to its dramatic reopening as a world renowned five-star destination.

An article in the May issue of Metropolis Magazine examined the legacy of the late Charles W. Moore, one of the firm’s founding partners, and quoted current Centerbrook partner Mark Simon on the lessons he learned from him, among them “Listen carefully to your client, don’t assume that you know what they want” and “Your overall design idea for a building should be recognizable in a very small drawing (typically for Charles, a sketch on a cocktail napkin drawn in an airport lounge). This leads to design integrity that can even withstand a client’s numerous changes.”

The new museum and library at and the Hotchkiss Biomass Facility each won two design awards, adding to the three each had garnered the previous year. The Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, one of many programs offered by the Essex Library, began its seventh season this fall.

The two Centerbrook Chair Workshops in 2014, a demanding design/build exercise for professional staff, produced 11 unique creations. Entering its third year, two more session will be held in 2015.

On an intramural note, a watercolor exhibition in the office’s Drill Bit Gallery featured the work of staff. The millpond on campus saw some spirited lunchtime ice hockey last January, but no fights.