Mount Pleasant Elementary School

Mount Pleasant Elementary School

|   Nashua NH
Overview: Renovation of a 36,000 SF elementary school with the addition of two 8,000-SF wings to accommodate 6 additional classrooms with connecting studies, specialized art and music rooms, and a new gymnasium.

In order to preserve a maximum of exterior space on this very small site, and to reinforce the understated simplicity of the original building, the additions are disposed as two identical bookend-like volumes. Containing paired classrooms on three floors to the north and a gymnasium above a music and art room to the south, the two additions are pushed back from the front facade to reveal the original building’s decorative brick panels and to preserve the structure’s three-dimensional presence as seen from the front.

The architecture of the additions extends the proportional systems and materials of the existing building and expresses the hierarchy of layered interior spaces. Seen independently, each addition is asymmetrically composed and visually stretched or pulled away from the existing structure. The resulting in-between spaces, expressed on the facade as vertical glass zippers, act as virtual outdoor spaces in the form of corridors to the north and a spiral stair connecting the music room with stage to the south

To the rear, the additions project and frame the existing structure, and owing to the less formal quality of this side, are expressive of the different program elements contained in each wing. Continuous light monitors along each long side, and a large clerestory window at one end articulate the symmetrical volume of the gymnasium.

Within the north wing, classrooms are subdivided into a primary teaching space and a hard surfaced support zone along the outer wall. At each level classrooms are connected with small study rooms that provide flexibility in allowing small groups to work independently.

Within the existing building the network of wide corridors and monumental stairs were maintained to preserve the public spatial organization of the plan. The majority of non-bearing walls were removed to allow for the enlargement of undersized classrooms and the accommodation of a variety of new educational, administrative and support spaces. A new, full-sized library was designed within the shell of the former undersized gymnasium, located at the center of the main floor and serves as the symbolic heart of the school.

City of Nashua
36,000 SF Renovation, addition of two 8,000 SF wings
Chris Iwerks served as Design Principal while with TAMS Architecture
Complete architectural and engineering services for design through construction phases
Peter Smith