Norwich University and Montpelier’s Union Elementary School Partner on Playground Project

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

April 20, 2018

Norwich University’s Architecture Design Build program, called 802LAB, has partnered with Montpelier’s Union Elementary School (UES) and the community to design and build an outdoor classroom/playhouse as part of the school’s planned playground renovations.

Leading faculty member Tolya Stonorov and students in the 802LAB program have worked closely with a UES volunteer committee comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and community members as well as the students of Union Elementary School to define the project and how it serves the needs of the larger playground. The process began with precedent research that included diagrams, drawings, images and a detailed scaled model. These were presented to the committee and analyzed for their feedback.

“Our vision for the new playground at UES has always been to create an outdoor space that not only provides students and our community with a place to play but also one that will ignite their creativity,” says Jay Ericson, UES parent and Playground Project Manager. “The students in the 802LAB and Tolya have helped make this vision a reality. The NEST will be the cornerstone of the new playground and will be a place for students to learn, create, and experience an individualized connection to the outdoor environment.”

After gathering the committee’s hopes and requirements for the project, the students embarked on individual design responses. These were grouped according to likeness, further refined through a consensus process, and a final design was agreed upon and approved by the committee. DeWolfe Engineering in Montpelier, Vt., is generously working with 802Lab to engineer the project on a pro-bono basis.

According to Stonorov: “Design-build supports the idea that building, making and designing are intrinsic to each other: knowledge of one strengthens and informs the expression of the other. Hands-on learning through the act of building what is designed translates theories and ideas into real world experience.” This project exemplifies Norwich’s value of service to others as a community architecture project, one that is developed and executed in response to a community need and in close cooperation with those the structure will serve. The playhouse is affectionately called “The NEST.”

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin, M’17
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich University Outdoor Classroom Earns AIA New England Award

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Nov. 14, 2017

A Norwich University design/build project, an outdoor classroom produced in collaboration with the classroom’s recipients—Northfield High School students—has been recognized with a Citation Award for Excellence in Architecture by American Institute of Architects (AIA) New England Region.

The building, affectionately named ‘The Dutch Angle,’ is approximately 24 feet square by 18 feet tall at its highest and uses a sophisticated cable and turnbuckle-tensioned king-post beam to span the entire 24 feet length. The project engaged Norwich students in architecture, civil engineering and construction management programs.

AIA New England announced on Oct. 20 that the Norwich project earned a citation among seven Honor Awards, six Merit Awards, and twelve Citation Awards out of 275 total entries submitted for consideration.

“This fresh air classroom is a great example of how a small but thoughtful design intervention, conceived with community input and built with an attention to craft, can have a big impact on the people who use it,” Dean of the College of Professional Schools Aron Temkin said. “It is wonderful to see this project receive broader recognition.”

In January 2015, students from the Northfield High School Students Taking Alternative Routes (STAR) program met with students from the School of Architecture + Art’s 802-Lab to discuss the design and construction of an outdoor classroom in the 135-acre woodland adjacent to the Garvey Hill Soccer Field in Northfield. From the outset the students designed this work to be gentle on the landscape. By making sure that all of the pieces and components could be transported without heavy machinery, the natural qualities of the site were preserved even during the construction process.

Jury comments included: “We commend this project based on the exemplary fact that it brought together three generations of architects together: past students (professionals), current students and future students. This project proposes an innovative model for engaging with the emerging architectural community which we appreciate.”

The superstructure was entirely pre-fabricated on the Norwich campus and then trucked to the Garvey Hill Soccer Field, where it was unloaded and hand-carried across the soccer field and into the forest. It is estimated that together the students carried about four tons of material and tools into the woods to construct the Dutch Angle Classroom.

The STAR program offers an academic setting for Northfield High School students looking for a more experiential classroom setting.The STAR Program seeks to establish relevance and purpose in students’ education by facilitating fundamental bush-craft skills like making fire through friction, learning how to identify wild edibles, and how to build primitive shelters from woodland debris.

Read more about the design/build project here: http://profschools.norwich.edu/newsletter/cops-students-design-and-build-an-outdoor-classroom/

Photo at top by John W. Hession

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich University Launches Inaugural Governor’s Institute in Architecture, Design & Building

NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

July 14, 2017

Norwich University welcomes 36 Vermont high school students on Sunday, July 16, for its inaugural Governor’s Institute on Architecture, Design & Building, a brand new Governor’s Institute of Vermont (GIV) program.

The institute offers a residential week of hands-on learning in working with concrete, masonry and wood across the disciplines of architecture, engineering, and construction management with an emphasis on regional materials and best practices of sustainable design and craft.

“This partnership between Norwich University and the Governor’s Institutes brings Norwich’s incredible teaching and mentoring resources to any Vermont high-schooler with a strong interest in the topic, regardless of their location or income,” said Karen Taylor Mitchell, who coordinates all 13 Governor’s Institutes programs throughout the state. “We’re over the moon that these young women and men are getting this chance to build confidence and try out their interests in one of Vermont’s most promising career fields.”

Norwich University’s College of Professional Schools includes all three of the primary architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) disciplines together. The School of Architecture + Art is the only National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited architecture school in northern New England, and Norwich is the only university in northern New England teaching all the A/E/C disciplines. The College of Professional Schools includes shop facilities for wood and metal; its new “CoLab,” a design/build area suitable for building full-scale buildings like the award-winning, 1000-square foot house completed for the 2013 Solar Decathlon; and digital fabrication labs that include 3D printers, 3D scanners, a five-axis CNC mill, and a 5’x9’ three-axis CNC mill.

Students will work with Norwich faculty, alumni, and undergraduate students in architecture, engineering, art, and construction management who are dedicated to a collaborative education model and project delivery. This college has a tradition of sustainable design/build projects including the Solar Decathlon DeltaT90 house; the outdoor classroom, Dutch Angle, conceived, designed and executed for Northfield High School in 2015; and CASA 802, a recently completed tiny house of 380 square feet. Other school projects include the award-winning Archistream mobile design gallery for AIA Vermont; the EMBarc, a mobile and self-powered earth-science lab created from a twenty-foot shipping container that travels in the state to teach about geology and water quality; and the recently built Wheel–pad, a modular accessible bedroom and bathroom that can be temporarily added to a residence, permitting residents to remain in their own homes during a period of recuperation.

“As the global population continues to expand and urbanize there will be massive challenges for humanity and the environment,” said Cara Armstrong, director of the School of Architecture + Art and Institute co-director. She promises incoming teenagers: “Design will help you meet those challenges; it will help you think about systems, not just things, so you will learn to see that the world is not made up of individual, disconnected things but that everything is causal, interrelated and connected.”

About Governor’s Institute of Vermont:

At 34 years old, the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont is a nonprofit organization committed to making life-changing accelerated learning opportunities accessible to all talented Vermont teens, especially those from rural and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented populations. With the help of the Vermont legislature and many donors, the Governor’s Institutes serves 630 students a year with sliding scale tuition that starts as low as $10 for a full weeklong Institute, including room and board.

Other Governor’s Institutes topics include arts; astronomy; Asian cultures; current issues and youth activism; entrepreneurship; environmental science and technology; information technology and digital media; mathematical sciences; engineering; and writing. Registration for the next Governor’s Institutes, Winter Weekends will open in December.

More information is available at www.giv.org or by calling (802) 865-4448

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).www.norwich.edu 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
dlarkin@norwich.edu