The new west dining hall complements the existing 1913 collegiate Gothic dining, academic and student life building, originally designed by Bertram Goodhue.
The new west wing forms a new courtyard and outdoor living room, maximizing open space.
Bay windows overlooking the school pond were added to the north facade.
The main spine through the building allows students to move from one side of the campus to the other without interrupting dining spaces.
The new servery’s central location provides easy access to the three dining rooms. It reflects contemporary dietary trends and preferences with various stations.
The West Dining Room is a grand space with a working fire place. FSC certified millwork and furnishings contribute to the campus fabric and school culture.
The former kitchen and servery was repurposed as the North Dining Room. This intimate space features banquet seating and bay windows.
New stained glass panels were created in the spirit of the building’s historic stained glass.
The former Headmaster's suite was converted into a private dining room with A/V equipment.
The mix of old and new affirms the school’s historic legacy and contributes to the timelessness of the design.
Horace Dutton Taft Dining Hall, The Taft School
Watertown, Connecticut
The 1913 Horace Dutton Taft Building (HDT) is the most historic, central and considered by the school to be the most important building on campus. More than just an upgrade of the school’s dining facilities; GUND’s work represents a comprehensive renovation of much of the school’s most significant building and its adjacent areas.

HDT is located at the physical and spiritual center of campus, and the design acknowledges these aspirations by creating a place where the entire community can come together. The existing building had failed to meet various code requirements and the historic interiors were badly in need of restoration.

The school wanted to preserve the centrality of the Taft dining experience. GUND’s plan created three dining halls, each connected to a servery, with a maximum seating of 680. GUND added a new West Dining Room, renovated the existing East Dining Room, and converted the existing kitchen/storage space into a new, more intimate North Dining Room.

The new Moorhead wing at the west forms a new courtyard and reinvigorates the heart of campus. The addition converses with the original historic architecture of the HDT building, designed by noted architect Bertram Goodhue. As the oldest and most significant building on campus, its decorative details and character evoke the spirit of the Taft community.

The project was constructed in phases to allow continuity of dining service. GUND’s renovation of the building’s historic interiors has resolved egress, ADA, building code and fire safety issues. Restoration efforts returned existing spaces to their former grandeur. In some cases, new fixtures, millwork and furniture were custom designed to fit comfortably alongside the existing historic details.

The LEED Gold certified design includes high performance mechanical systems that contribute to an estimated 20 percent savings in energy. The air handling system incorporates a heat wheel, significantly reducing the load of the HVAC system and reducing operating costs. Water use is estimated to be reduced by 80 percent. All furniture and paneling is FSC certified. Comprehensive recycling of construction waste was achieved.




38,000 SF New Construction
20,000 SF Renovation


AIA Connecticut, Encompassing Art Design Award
U.S. Green Building Council Connecticut Chapter, Green Design Award
Illuminating Engineering Society, Edwin F. Guth Memorial Award for Interior Lighting
Illuminating Engineering Society, Regional Award of Merit


Robert Benson