Project File: Design unifies campus

June 1, 2003
The Berkshire School, Sheffield, Mass.

Two new “English Manor”-style residence halls were completed last fall on the 500-acre campus of The Berkshire School, Sheffield, Mass., a co-ed preparatory academy for 385 students. Both $8 million, 19,000-square-foot buildings house 30 female students and three faculty families.

The new two-story buildings resolve key planning issues on the 95-year-old campus. By taking architectural cues from the older buildings of the north campus, the new structures help unify that area with the newer buildings in the south campus.

The exterior of the buildings are influenced by the proportions and design of the English Manor House, most notably with stucco facades and large chimneys profiled against the verdant backdrop. The buildings also create an attractive new vista for the Route 41 approach to the school, effectively redirecting The Berkshire School's front door.

Each of the new halls is designed as three houses that interconnect in the shape of a T. Their forms echo the gable-roofed structures popular in the area for centuries. Inside, double-height common spaces with stone fireplaces provide gathering areas in each wing, as well as at the nexus of each T, where students enter the building.

The single- and double-occupancy student rooms are laid out to allow students to create their own living arrangements, with a private bedroom or a shared bedroom and living room. Individuality is fostered through varying floor plan orientations, floor elevations and interior finishes and colors. Each wing includes a private three-bedroom duplex family apartment for a faculty adviser.

Architect is Fox & Fowle Architects (New York City).

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