This project for Ursuline Academy is a 2-story classroom addition that links Merici Hall and Brescia Hall, two existing buildings on the 28 acre campus. The addition is supported by a steel structure and clad in a combination of traditional brick and simulated stone masonry veneers. Large windows on the north provide plenty of natural light to studio spaces and shaded windows on the south provide filtered daylight to science labs. A gabled roof with asphalt shingles, reflective of existing gabled roofs on the campus cap the building on the front campus and street facing sides.
The connection includes a new enclosed access stair and an elevator which provides universal accessibility to the new addition as well as both adjoining existing buildings. These elements span all three floors of Merici Hall, and associated ramps and elevations of the new floors allow seamless access to Brescia’s two floors. The classrooms consist of four custom designed science labs, two on each floor, with adjoining prep rooms and storage space. While each lab is designed for a particular scientific discipline, they are designed with flexibility in-mind so that as the curriculum changes the rooms can adapt to the needs.
The addition includes a couple of 2-story studio spaces. The dance studio has a sprung wood and vinyl surfaced dance floor, high vaulted ceilings, full width mirrors and ballet bars on three walls, sound system and blackout shades with theatrical lighting for a complete class and practice experience. The music studio, for instrumental and vocal classes and practice, is large enough for a concert band of 45 musicians on seated risers, instrument storage space, teacher’s desk and breakout space. Vaulted ceilings help increase the volume and reverberation time within the space. Support spaces for each include adjoining dressing rooms, practice rooms and a music library.