The new Brooks School Campus Center (24,700 square feet) is meant to be the center of community life for this small Massachusetts boarding school.

The building's upper level contains a lobby, two dining rooms, and a servery. Looking like a single-story building, the upper level faces a lushly landscaped main street where it gently closes ranks with traditional white clapboard school buildings and barn-like structures. The entry foyer and a private dining room are gathered under a pavilion-like pyramidal roof that is intended to act as a new campus landmark. Within the pavilion, an outdoor stair descends to a lower courtyard. In front of the dining room a low stone wall defines a sitting terrace where students hang out on benches.

The building's lower level, not readily apparent from the street, contains student lounges, a retail store, a post office, a kitchen, and storage. Rooms in the lower level look onto an interior main street that spills out onto a sunny, south-facing courtyard protected from winter winds and offering tables and chairs for student enjoyment in late fall and early spring.

The main dining room and lobby are designed to convey the strong New England traditions of the school. Cherry paneling on the walls and ceiling is durable and warm. Oak tables and chairs are custom-designed for the space. Lighting and special equipment in the dining room make it a functional space for student tests as well as for viewing film, thus offering a thrifty multi-dimensional aspect.

With the darkness of New England winters to combat, the building's interior glows warmly from large windows. The building sets a friendly tone and beckons the community within.

Photography © Jeff Goldberg/Esto