Case Study

Winchendon School-Humanities Center

The Winchendon School commissioned a new humanities classroom center for its college preparatory program in 2005. This is the third of three assignments for The Geddis Partnership for this distinguished private school.

A freestanding timber-frame classroom and humanities commons of 7000 square feet opened in June of 2006. This new eight classroom complex, each of which features small group instruction, is centered on a commons and assembly area used as a study and presentation area. The classrooms are identical. In this school, each humanities teacher “owns” a classroom and tutorial work after classes remains within the same classroom. The commons is to promote continuing informal discussions between faculty and students and to stimulate an interest in all of the resources the school offers in the humanities.

The concept was a “monitor barn” with natural light and ventilation at the top. The choice of a timber frame structure for the eight classrooms along a commons with a fireplace hearth was made to reinforce the traditional agricultural character of the surrounding 236 acres of old farmland and woodlands. The Douglas fir and stained cedar shingles and clapboard mark this academic building as a destination in a small complex of shed-roof, red brick pavilions from the 1970’s.

This center has received a design award.