Darrow School is a college-preparatory boarding school for grades 9–12 located on 365 acres of a former Shaker community located in the Berkshire Mountains in New Lebanon, NY. As part of the school’s ‘Growing Greener’ initiative, many of the schools buildings have received energy upgrades.

Darrow’s 1967 Science Building had not been renovated since it was designed by it’s original architect Jim Baker, FAIA.

While the core of the building is quite robust, energy standards in 1967 relegated the wall and roof assemblies to way below current code insulation standards. In addition, the cedar siding had deteriorated significantly. The single pane windows were failing and the building suffered from various roof and skylight leaks. On the exterior, the building suffered from a rough transition to it’s hardscape surroundings and the area was susceptible to storm-water flooding. Various interim solutions detracted from the graceful intent of the original setting.

The renovation upgraded the envelope to 50% better than the NYS energy code, replaced all the window with thermally broken, double pane, argon- filled glazing. Custom wood storefronts were designed to closely match the original design. The existing cedar siding was replaced with 30 year warranty fiber-cement clapboard over high- performance nailbase insulation.

The new exterior treatment ties the building visually with the recent Samson Environmental Center, to which it is attached.

The existing boilers were replaced with new condensing boilers; the ventilation system was upgraded with precise controls and all the building exhuast fans were replaced. All the lighting was substituted for new high-efficiency fixtures and bulbs. New wind turbines on the roof augment the buildings electric needs.

While solving the stormwater problems with new drainage, the team took the opportunity to increase the comfort and grace of exterior social spaces with the addition of built-in bluestone & concrete benches in combination with a new water feature. Exterior lighting and power were also upgraded in these areas. 

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