NEW CANAAN — St. Luke’s School students coming into the new school year will see the last phase of an $18 million, decadelong project finally come to fruition.
Natural sunlight floods the rooms of the nearly finished Arts and Humanities wing, with some boasting floor-to-ceiling windows. Solar overhangs meant to conserve energy and protect from the sun’s harshest rays are attached just above the windows on the exterior.
For St. Luke’s Head of School Mark Davis, the plan for renovation and additions is about fostering community and education.
“The world changes so fast and we want to make sure you have a campus and spaces that fuel and inspire learning,” Davis told students March of last year, when he announced the groundbreaking of the Arts and Humanities wing.
Jim Rogers, the lead architect of Rogers McCagg Architects and Interior Designers, has been overseeing the project for the last decade.
On a tour of the new wing, Rogers pointed to the various windows that allow sunlight in and to the windows on the doors and walls of classrooms.
“For this project there are two central things we wanted to emphasize: transparency and natural light,” Rogers said. “We want to be able to see all the learning that’s going on.”
The Arts and Humanities wing construction project will include 12 classrooms, as well as a fabrication lab (fab lab) geared toward design, a photography studio with a dark room, art studios for middle and high school students, a library and a cafe. The wing is expected to open Sept. 4.
“It used to be the library was at the end of one corridor, and now the library connects both corridors in this wing,” Rogers said.
Once construction is completed, the school will have upper and middle school classes, no longer requiring students from both schools to share schedules.
The topography of the area on which St. Luke’s is located, with its steep slope that gives a bird’s-eye view of the forest, was something planners had to take into careful consideration.
“Construction logistics were a huge challenge,” Rogers said, adding that talks with the town’s Planning and Zoning were also part of that.
Rogers grew up in New Canaan and graduated from New Canaan Country School, a school he redesigned a couple of years ago with his architectural firm. His firm’s work is visible across town, including the town’s YMCA and the construction of the New York City and Stamford Chelsea Piers projects.
A previous master plan had called for each floor of the school to have a different educational field, with science on the topmost floor followed by Arts and Humanities. Rogers said such planning placed the subjects in a sort of hierarchy that showed prospective students what the school valued.
When asked about how he felt seeing the project reach its conclusion, Rogers pondered aloud as he walked up to the first floor of the nearly finished wing.Read Full Article
“It’s bittersweet,” Rogers said. “Especially after working for so long on this project.”