Reading Elementary School

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Clients Location

Reading, VT


8000 sf new
4000 sf existing

Category Sustainability Features
  • •Building re-use

  • AIA VT Excellence in Architecture Design Award

  • AIA New England Excellence in Design Award

  • AIA VT Fifty Year Award (best buildings built in the past 50 years)


Expansion of Historic School Artfully Links Old and New

The original Reading School, built in the early 1900s in Reading, Vermont, consisted of two classrooms and support spaces that did not meet the school’s current needs.  An addition and renovation were essential.

The new Reading Elementary School, which added more than 8,000 sf to an existing 4,000 sf, blends in with the traditional Vermont village scape.  Of similar scale to nearby structures, 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 sf multi purpose room and four classrooms.  The circulation and service areas, painted green, form gaskets between the original schoolhouse and the new additions.  They allow for additional small group areas at the “knuckles,” which optimize available sunlight.