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The Frederick Gunn School

Thomas S. Perakos Arts & Community Center

the story

The 32,000 SF Arts and Community Center, currently targeted for LEED Silver Certification, is a visual and performing arts facility dedicated to transparency, collaboration, innovation, excitement, and inclusion – a wonderful blend of arts and activity spaces to benefit the entire campus and to welcome in the neighboring town communities.   


New Building
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Pre-Construction Services
Programming & Planning
Structural Engineering
Washington, CT
Completed 2019
32,000 SF

Upon the completion of their 2016 Master Plan, the School took a bold step in deciding to build a sustainable, 32,000 SF facility dedicated to transparency and openness, in­clusion, collaboration, innovation, and excitement – a merging of the arts and community in a forward-looking building that respected the highly contextual vernacular of the existing campus.

The intent was two-fold: to create indoor space that would serve multiple community functions, including the visual and performing arts and to create gathering space outdoors, which is crucial to the ethos of the School, nested in the hills and trees of the western Connecticut landscape.


Previously, parking was spread across the site with a great deal of vehicular traffic within the campus interior.


A welcoming gathering space was created in a heavily utilized part of campus by consolidating existing parking to a larger area at entry and replacing a central parking lot with a new green space. 


It was necessary to hold tri-weekly student meetings in an underwhelming gym across Route 47, which bisects the campus. Now the Arts & Community Center provides a modern centrally located space for the school community to gather. 


The Arts and Community Center is a contextual response in scale and materiality that pushes the vernacular of its surroundings to open up and accept, to invite natural light and capture the dialogue between the interior and exterior experience. Spaces are grand but engaging, continuously flexing between comfort, safety, openness and fun, always with a nod toward the landscape surrounding the building.


In my opinion, this is a game changer for FGS students and for generations to follow. It will provide this wonderful school with the facilities to deliver a distinguished, diversified and unique curriculum. The performing arts program at The Frederick Gunn School is currently thriving and soon it will have a venue to match its caliber and advance it to its greatest potential. This is truly a dream come true!

Thomas S. Perakos ‘69

Project Contacts

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