The building was sited on an east-west axis to maximize daylighting. A greenhouse with planting tables on the south facade reveals the academic programs.
The massing is broken into articulated components linked by a central atrium.
The three-story atrium is a dynamic crossroads, linking the math, science and humanities wings and serving as a forecourt to the library.
The atrium is home to Westminster School's weekly announcements.
Student lounge areas are located along the north perimeter of the atrium.
The two-level library includes a variety of environments to encourage individual and group study throughout the day.
All classrooms and laboratories feature smart boards and traditional white boards. Two person tables were selected for their flexibility.
This third floor Humanities classroom offers views to nearby Cushing Hall at left, the original school building.
The 120-seat amphitheater style lecture hall on the lower level supports testing and formal presentations.
The planetarium on the lower level supports astronomy instruction.
A geothermal system is used to heat and cool the building. The geothermal well field is located underneath the adjacent parking lot.
Site plan - The academic center forms a new quad with Cushing Hall, the original school building, and the Chapel.
Ground level plan
Second level plan
Third level plan
Lower level plan
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Armour Academic Center, Westminster School
Simsbury, Connecticut
The Armour Academic Center was designed to elevate academic excellence and inspire generations of students at an independent school for grades 9–12. This new 85,000-square-foot Center houses the Humanities, Math and Science departments, library, and administration. Building features include a centrally located atrium, two-story library, classrooms and laboratories, 120-seat lecture hall, planetarium, faculty and administrative offices, and a variety of lounge spaces.

The Center is located in the heart of the school’s 200-acre campus and forms a new quad with the Chapel and other significant campus buildings. It was sited on an east-west axis to maximize daylighting. Major trees were preserved, which reduces the Center’s scale and gives it the appearance of always being there. The exterior design needed to complement the existing campus architecture—a challenge given its large size. The Center’s massing is broken down into articulated components, which relates to the adjacent Tudor style building and didactically renders the program in three dimensions.

A central three-story atrium is the main entrance to the Center and provides a dramatic meeting space for the school community. A variety of informal lounge spaces are located around the atrium and within the corridors to stimulate and strengthen socialization.
Reflecting forward-thinking trends in academic facilities design, classrooms, labs and library spaces promote hands-on, interactive learning, and were designed to accommodate new teaching methodologies. The two-story library has a variety of spaces ranging from collaborative work areas to quiet reading rooms.

The project received LEED Gold certification. The building utilizes geothermal heat exchange. A high efficient mechanical system, increased insulation, aggressive glazing choices and efficient lighting design contribute to a reduction on energy consumption by 33%. A high efficient irrigation system reduces the overall potable water consumption by more than 50%, resulting in a savings of more than 1 million gallons of water annually. In addition efficient plumbing fixtures result in more than 40% reduction in water usage.

COMPLETION

2010

SIZE

85,000 SF

AWARDS

U.S. Green Building Council Connecticut Chapter, Sustainable Design Award

PHOTOGRAPHY

Robert Benson

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