design thinkers blog
solving complex problems
[hero image]

Kent School, Hoerle Hall

New Dormitory, Faculty Housing & Academic Building

the story

Hoerle Hall is a 35,000 SF dormitory and academic building, providing residential, community, studio and classroom space. The new building was constructed within a flood zone on a soft clayey silt alluvium soil, unable to support the weight of the building.  For three months, the ground was pre-loaded with 7,500 yards of imported structural fill in order compress the soil, support the new slab, and level off the remaining platform. The steel frame is supported by 240 timber piles driven to a total depth of 9,500 LF. The timing and sequence of the fill operation, pile driving, and grade beam installation required close orchestration of the work. During the course of construction, the project was shut down three times due to flooding. 


New Building
Construction Management
Design Build
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Pre-Construction Services
Programming & Planning
Structural Engineering
Kent, CT
Completed 2012
35,000 SF

Kent School was in need of a new dormitory to house an equal number of boy and girl boarding students, as well as providing space for 15+ day students. The iconic campus was limited on a site location and chose to build this new facility in an existing flood zone located along the Housatonic River and Macedonia Brook intersection on campus. The goal of the project was to design the building to the site structurally to withstand regular flooding and poor soil conditions.


The integrated design-build team collaborated to resolve numerous site challenges including flooding, poor soil-bearing capacity, limited site access and protected wildlife. The team incorporated into the design a 300 foot long, ten foot high stone structural retaining wall to act as a flood wall during and after construction. With scheduled sequencing and overlapping trades, construction was completed two and a half months ahead of the original schedule allowing the school to utilize the dormitory for the fall semester.

The dormitory and academic building provides residential, community, studio and classroom space.


As we now have time to sit back and reflect on the new dormitory, Hoerle Hall, your design and the stunning architectural features of the building make it look like it has been there since the School opened in 1906. You combined the classical architecture with the latest environmentally sound construction methods and systems. You went to great lengths to construct a curve in the building which gives it a grace of its own. Your team of architects coupled with your construction team, brought the project in ahead of schedule and under budget. This has only added to the success of our new dormitory.

Richard Schell
Headmaster & Rector, The Kent School

A funding delay pushed the start date by three months. SLAM’s design and construction team expedited design, scheduled sequencing and overlapped trades to deliver the project two and a half months ahead of schedule, meeting a fall semester occupancy date and $512,405 under budget. The resulting design in response to the site challenges produced a timeless and beautiful work of architecture that responds to the schools mission, programmatic needs and environment.


Fun Fact: There were 2 lighting strikes during construction.


Fun Fact: 6.4 miles of piping were used for radiant floors.


Fun Fact: The retaining wall protected the building construction during Hurricane Irene.

A Legacy of Work

SLAM has become an extension of Kent School’s team taking the time to understand the institution, connect, and work with them for over 30 years.

Project Contacts

related projects