Student Center, Dana Hall School

ERISMAN STUDENT CENTER

Dana Hall School, Wellesley MA

As part of the renovation of their Student Center, the Dana Hall School in Wellesley asked Shoplick Landscape Architecture to design a terrace that would complement their new building. Together the building and terrace were to convey the school's commitment to learning, community, diversity, and open communication. 

CONTINUED BELOW

 

The architect's design for the building called for replacing the heavy brick west facade with a light, transparent glass curtain wall. The building's new first floor proposed a variety of informal spaces for the girls to hang out or grab a snack while the second floor was to house a cafeteria and meeting rooms. The goal of the terrace design was to complement the contemporary glass facade and to extend the indoor communal functions to the outdoors. This included providing spaces for girls to get together, eat their meals, relax and study. Other terrace design goals included improving campus circulation and providing a venue for large school events.

 

The top of a hill partially concealed the original Student Center from the rest of the campus. The new terrace design removes the top 3-4 feet of the hill. This effectually opens up the Student Center to the rest of the campus, and strengthens its visual and physical relationship with other school buildings. It also helps to convey the function of the Student Center as a place of openness, assembly and community.

 

To encourage communication and community, two curving seatwalls define the edges of terrace while simultaneously creating ample seating for students to congregate. The walls' curved shape combine with the color and pattern of the concrete pavers to subtly demarcate an active circulation zone from a sitting, dining relaxation zone. Within the relaxation zone, a 'Social Circle' Fire Ring provides a new activity for students. Dining tables with 'Dana Blue' umbrellas also give girls another choice for gathering.

 

The trees and shrubs planted around the terrace add new species to the school's existing palette of plants. Most of the terrace trees and shrubs are native and consist of American Beech, Redbud, Dogwood, Tupelo, Tulip Trees, Fothergilla and Oakleaf Hydrangea.  A shrub, perennial and herb display garden at the south entry to the terrace showcases plants that bloom throughout the growing season, but especially in the Spring and Fall while most students are on campus.

 

Client: Dana Hall School

Landscape Architect: Shoplick Landscape Architecture, Newton, MA

Architects: Schwartz Silver Architects, Boston, MA

Civil Engineer: Samiotes Consultants, Inc, Framingham, MA

Landscape Contractor: Phil Mastroianni Corp, Waltham, MA

Social Circle Fire Ring: Sticks 'n Stones, British Columbia