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Fox & Fowle Architects designs 'English Manor' dorms for Berkshire School. (Design and Development).

Two new "English Manor" style dormitories designed by New York-based Fox & Fowle Architects were recently dedicated on the 500-acre campus of The Berkshire School, a prestigious co-ed preparatory academy for 385 students in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Both two-story, 19,000-SF buildings, each housing 30 female students and three faculty families, blend a modern sensibility with design references to the traditional character of the campus' oldest buildings.

The new 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 redressing The Berkshire School's front door.

Each of the new dormitories are 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 "'1'," 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 also 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.

"While the architecture makes reference to the campus vernacular, modern innovations that create vitality and animation are subtly introduced throughout the design," said Bruce Fowle, founder and senior principal at Fox & Fowle, who led the design team. "A pervasive aura of excellence is an essential component of any great institution. These new dormitories bring visual cohesion to the school, inspire student pride and are becoming catalysts for a campus-wide renewal."

Construction of the new dormitories was completed in the fall of 2002. The total cost for the two dormitories was a cost-effective $8 million.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 30, 2003
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