Reading School Reading, VT

Photographer: Brian Vander Brink

  • 1998—VT AIA Fifty Year Award (best buildings built in the past 50 years)
  • 1997—AIA New England Region Excellence in Design Award
  • 1997—VT AIA Excellence in Architecture Award

Located in Reading, Vermont, the original Reading School, built in the early 1900’s, consisted of two classrooms and support spaces of substandard condition.

An addition and renovation were essential.

The new Reading Elementary School, which adds more than 8,000 sf, to an existing 4,000 sf, blends in with the traditional Vermont villagescape. Of similar scale, the school extends into the surrounding fields to establish a courtyard used for supervised recess and community events.   The school’s historic importance was maintained by clearly delineating between old and new. The bold use of color and form reinforces this and differentiates the building’s circulation/storage from the classroom/multi-purpose room, and from the original structure. The original building, painted red, houses the library, administration, and support areas. Existing details were restored, reused, and enhanced to maintain the existing character.   The two wings, painted yellow, provide for a 2,800 square foot multi-purpose room and four classrooms. The circulation and service areas, painted green, form gaskets between the original school house and the new additions. They allow for additional small group areas at the “knuckles,” which optimize available sunlight.