To facilitate review of alternative options for the design, we scheduled a series of design workshops which included our consultants and the Owner, for the purpose of presenting conceptual designs and arriving at a team consensus for the project approach. Involving the engineers, revealed that to facilitate the construction schedule the structural system selected would drive the detailing of the addition. This allowed SLAM to produce an early bid package for site and steel and started construction earlier than anticipated. SLAM’s structural engineers were able to produce the fabrication drawings for the project during the OSF review cycle. What was previously considered wasted time waiting for the State to give their approval to go to bid, we utilized BIM for detailing the structural bid package. This allowed steel bidders to have fabrication drawings available at the time of bid, resulting in months saved on the schedule and tighter bids on the steel package.
The three goals of the project were: Renovation of the school while respecting the urban site and context, as well as the style, material, and color palette of the original building; Preservation of enough site area for an athletic field in support of a comprehensive athletic program and the downtown north community; Completion of the project on an aggressive schedule (4 months design; 12 months construction).
The exteriors of the existing building were completely restored to the original 1927 design, while incorporating new high performance double-hung windows and wood doors. The new gymnasium addition was designed to coordinate seamlessly with the style and character of the existing school building, in tune with the client’s vision. Special attention was paid to harmonizing the new addition’s façade with the color palette and subtle ornamentation of the original. All existing brick veneer was carefully cleaned and restored. The interior design preserved the elaborate ceiling of the existing auditorium, which was re-purposed as the school’s spacious new double-height library, while the original gymnasium was also re-purposed to serve as the new cafeteria.
The new building had such a profound impact on the Downtown North neighborhood and received the Hartford Preservation Alliance Award for rehabilitation and new construction. With the complexity of re-purposing existing spaces, our team was able to reduce energy consumption of the existing structure to help meet energy efficiency goals set for the project.