HMFH Architects

Beaver Country Day Arts
Center and Athletic Center

Chestnut Hill, MA

When a strategic plan identified program deficiencies, HMFH was selected to develop a campus master plan and two new buildings. The Arts Center added spaces for fine and performing arts while the athletic center added a large light-filled gym, fitness center and locker rooms. These two projects restored balance and order to a classic 1924 campus that had been disorganized by several poorly planned additions and set the stage for subsequent modifications to redefine the campus both physically and pedagogically.

Art is personal work that you make from your soul–we believe that this glorious new space will inspire students and encourage even greater respect for the work we do as artists.

Kelly Lopez Performing Arts Chair, Beaver Country Day School
  • Students 400
  • Grades 6-12
  • Size 30,000 ft2

The new building is integrated extremely well with the existing buildings on the campus; the continuity from building to building – enabled by an interior bridge and a catwalk – is enriched by a beautiful facade/elevation facing the bridge, which leads to a public arts center; the juxtaposition of materials is thoughtful and effective.

CitationBoston Society of Architects K-12 Educational Facilities Design Awards

The three-story arts facility features a black box theater with flexible seating and theatrical lighting plus a scene shop, costume storage and workroom, lighting storage, control room, green room, drama instruction classroom and dressing rooms.

The music area includes classrooms for choral, jazz, dance and a chamber ensemble plus practice rooms and storage. In the visual arts department, students have access to a photo studio and darkroom and studios for 2-D art, print making and computer graphics. Although the new Arts Center is linked to the main academic building, it features a separate public entrance with a two-story, sky-lit lobby which doubles as an art gallery used for receptions and other school-wide activities, accessible by a bridge across the sloping site.

The new gymnasium was constructed adjacent to the existing smaller gymnasium and includes two practice basketball courts and a full-size competition court with bleachers for 650 spectators. New locker rooms, with separate facilities for middle and upper school students replace the original locker rooms, which were converted to athletic team locker rooms. The new facility includes fitness and training rooms, with offices for coaches and the athletic director. A new glass enclosed entry lobby provides access to both the new and old gymnasiums. As part of the new athletic center project, the surrounding site was redesigned, creating a series of terraces and a more gradual slope to allow easier pedestrian and vehicular access to the adjacent playfields.

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