First Class Learning Environments
Designed specifically for math and the sciences, the 24,000 sf. building houses five math classrooms, four discipline-specific science labs/lecture rooms, independent project areas, gallery space, an IT help suite, and a free-standing greenhouse.
Each classroom functions as its own independent network. A workshop lab adjacent to the physics lab provides space to build larger technology projects such as solar cars or robotics, while the environmental science lab accommodates active experiments by offering direct access to the outdoors.
Labs and classrooms are linked seamlessly to casual spaces for collaboration to support both formal and informal learning opportunities. Every inch of the interior features opportunities to exchange ideas. Blackboards, tables, benches, chairs and “red stone” stools encourage breakout work and spontaneous interactions in the circulation areas.
The building’s neo-Georgian style complements the campus’ traditional architecture and idyllic rural setting, but also incorporates innovative, state-of-the-art sustainable design features such as daylight harvesting sensors, operable windows, rainwater collection for greywater, solar water heating, and a green roof.
All learning spaces and offices receive natural light from windows in at least two directions, and high-efficiency light fixtures are equipped with daylight harvesting sensors and dimming ballasts to automatically control energy consumption.
The building uses a geothermal heating and cooling system made of sixteen, 500-foot closed-loop wells that transfer energy to and from the earth at a fraction of the cost of a standard boiler and chiller system.
A green roof cools the building. Gutters collect stormwater runoff in an interior cistern, where it is then used in the restrooms. Interior details and materials such as concrete flooring, slate, wool carpet, wood fiber ceilings, low VOC paints, FSC-certified woods, and furniture made with recycled materials all come together to further support the Millbrook School’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
Throughout the space, didactic signs point out the academic center’s sustainable features, turning the building itself into a tool to teach Millbrook students about the concepts of sustainable design. The Hamilton Math & Science Center was the first academic building in New York state to be LEED Gold certified, and is still one of only five academic buildings in New York to achieve LEED Gold. It is the School’s first building constructed with integrated sustainable design strategies.
The project was led by VMA’s founding partner and director of design, Daniela Holt Voith, and continues VMA’s 23 year-long history of collaboration with the Millbrook School, where the firm has also completed dormitories, an arts center, a dining hall, and three comprehensive planning efforts.