SLAM completed design of the new Colby-Sawyer College Center for Arts + Design in New London, New Hampshire in fall 2017. The $7 million, 15,000-SF single-story facility and hub of creativity is set with views of Mount Kearsage, as part of a developing academic quad in the southeast portion of campus. On January 5, 2018, SLAM received the AIA New Hampshire Honor Award for the 2018 Excellence in Architecture Design for the Center for Arts + Design, recognizing and honoring the project team’s achievement for creating and enhancing the built environment and for their overall design excellence, including an aesthetic, creative, safe, valuable and sustainable building.
The architecture’s mid-century exterior reflects the arts village concept with a variety of building forms and materials that also complement the styles of the adjacent historic buildings. SLAM embraced the New England barn aesthetic, while offering a more playful interpretation. The result is an arts facility created to be a museum in and of itself.
“We are pleased to provide the design for a project that will further enhance the dynamic arts program at Colby-Sawyer,” says Rich Connell, AIA, SLAM Principal. “This signature space is organized to inspire collaboration within a new integrated arts Center, as well as unite the campus with the surrounding community.”
While the plan for the completed Center of Arts + Design provides space for each of the various disciplines, its overall organization creates a place where integrated arts will occur; a place where instruction, performance and exhibition become one within a single building.
The barn form allowed for a south facing solar array roof, supporting the college’s goal to transition to a carbon-neutral campus by 2050. This space takes advantage of stunning vistas of Mount Kearsarge and outdoor sculpture garden, providing a naturally lit visual arts exhibit space, and access to the state-of-the-art black box theater. A clear circulation spine allows for direct access to the various studios, which in turn share an outdoor arts yard where exterior kilns are located, enabling larger sculptures to be constructed, as well as welding and painting by students. Also featured within the Center is a fine art gallery; four art studios with support space for graphic design, drawing, photography, printmaking, painting, ceramics and sculpture; outdoor art areas; along with faculty offices and support areas.
The building is designed to accept a future phase, housing more art studios and performance spaces. Construction services were provided by North Branch Construction of Concord, New Hampshire. SLAM has also designed the College’s Ware Student Center expansion project completed in 2013, in addition to developing its Master Plan. North Branch Construction of Concord was the general contractor on the project.