Hawken School, Stirn Hall

  • Client

    • Hawken School
  • Project Type

Design Achievement – As it looked to its 100th anniversary, this private K-12 school planned a significant capital expansion to accommodate an expanding high school program with a physical space supporting the school’s forward-focused educational mission. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky’s award-winning design gives expression to a highly progressive educational vision with a mix of open and flexible learning spaces, encouraging an innovative curriculum and hands-on learning. The new Stirn Hall draws inspiration from its formerly agrarian historic estate and the barns which were located on the site until 1977. This building without corridors extends the white-on-white character of the existing Gates Mills Upper School, integrating different building components to take advantage of the variety of campus landscapes. The design intent creates a building composed of classrooms and commons spaces of diverse scale and character, distributed loosely throughout the floor plates. This loose organization of spaces provides a seamlessness between the varied experiences and modes of learning that mark the day of a student – from classrooms for lecture, application, inquiry, to open collaboration spaces and social commons for the exchange of ideas. The program encompasses three distinct kinds of spaces: Making (Biology, Science, and Fabrication Labs) oriented to the woods and creek, Sharing (commons, auditoria, and social spaces) with views of the meadow, and Inquiry (classrooms, offices, and humanities) oriented to a new Orchard. Students circulate between learning spaces through gracious commons areas filled with natural light and views to the landscape that defines the campus. The invigorating Stirn Hall supports new ways of learning and teaching, even those that haven’t been thought of yet. 

Scope Summary – The project consists of 35,000 SF renovation and 50,000 SF addition to an existing campus serving 500 students in grades 9-12. The school now encompasses 36 classrooms and nearly 110,000 SF, a 30% increase in size. Renovated and expanded classrooms reflect the innovative schedule, program, and teaching styles of this progressive program. Classrooms and social spaces are clustered around a two-story core structure containing central services such as college counseling, a writing center, and snack bar. Learning spaces accommodate student movement, engagement, and small group activities. Teaching spaces are utilized as laboratories for hands-on, participatory and group learning. New specialty spaces, including a Fabrication Laboratory, a Media Laboratory, Media Production Studio, and a Screening Room, will further support Hawken’s forward-focused curriculum with the expansion of programs such as Entrepreneurship and Media Studies so that students acquire real world skills. The building also includes a new science wing to support Hawken’s commitment to deepening the student experience, including the growth of independent scientific study options and the expansion of the STEMM Pathways program. Designed for flexibility, the open plan and multi-function areas provide ease of modifying space as needs and pedagogical program evolve. Energy efficiency measures include high performance glass and wall assemblies, energy recovery devices in the dedicated outdoor air systems, 92% thermal efficiency boilers, variable frequency drives on pumps, and premium efficiency motors. DLR Group|WRL provided architecture, MEP and structural engineering, theater technical, audiovisual, information transport, and acoustics services.

DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.


Awards & Recognition

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  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland

Hawken School, Stirn Hall

Hawken School