The Salisbury School Renovation, 2018

Problem:  The Lower School of TSS, a modernist masterpiece designed by Hardy Holzman Pheifer in 1970, no longer functioned or showed as well as it once did, due to growth of the school and the need to fit too much into too little space.

Solution:  The Lower School was designed to be a “one-room schoolhouse” with an open plan. It can not be subdivided into smaller spaces and still function well, show well, or be true to the progressive educational principals the School was founded on. Thus, solutions to the acoustic problem must take other approaches than partitioning the space. 

1.      Create new “quiet room” spaces outside of the original building. 

1.      Detached space has acoustic control for activities requiring quiet. 

2.      Additional space provides room to clear out the over-stuffed original building 

2.      Use new materials to absorb and dampen sound levels. 

1.      Replace all original wood slat walls with 3/4″ cork tiles 

2.      Install acoustic foam on ceiling in high volume areas 

3.      Install limited textiles on block walls 

3.      Install high volume-low speed (HVLS) fans in Library and each classroom 

1.      Fans create white background noise, so other sounds are less distracting.

2.      Fans mix the air to address hot and cold spots and evenly distribute HVAC. 

4.      Limited use of freestanding storefront partitions. No doors. 

5.      Modify student behavior. A part of the progressive educational philosophy of TSS is teaching children to be responsible, considerate human beings. 

1.      Give teachers the resources to work with children on developing non-disruptive behavior, such as consultants, continuing education, or additional staff. 

2.      Make instruction on the benefits, and responsibilities, of an open-plan learning environment part of the Lower School curriculum.