The Pennington School’s new Kenneth K.T. Yen Humanities Building, designed by Voith & Mactavish Architects (VMA) has completed in Pennington, N.J. The new building is at the center of a comprehensive campus plan VMA created in 2012. It comprises 18 classrooms and five seminar rooms.
The facility was originally intended to contain 21 classrooms and occupy a larger footprint than the resulting 30,000 sf, but early in the process VMA and the Pennington School realized they could rethink the program and design in ways that made better use of the space and resources.
After analyzing Pennington’s daily class schedule, VMA determined the school would be better served by a mix of classroom sizes rather than the planned equal-sized classrooms. Initial plans also included a fully enclosed lecture hall, but with the change in strategy to prioritize flexible, multi-use spaces, plans for this lecture hall were altered, as well. This led to the creation of The Forum, an expansive double-height atrium that serves as a space for both lectures and events, as well as informal gatherings and study sessions.
Classrooms feature seamless and unobtrusive technology that supports varying teaching techniques and flexible furniture that can form multiple configurations to accommodate different needs. Faculty and administrative areas are clustered to allow shared amenities and to make them more accessible to students. Nooks are included throughout the hallways and outfitted with comfortable, colorful seating. These informal breakout spaces can be used as meeting spaces for after-school clubs and places for teachers and students to gather as equals.
The project has achieved LEED Gold certification.