- Charter Oak Academy
Charter Oak Academy
Perkins Eastman Architects
Art Fiore, Project Manager
Acorn Glass, Inc.
Doug Dewar, Sales Manager
The 86,000 square-foot Charter Oak International Academy, serving 560 young students, aligns its philosophy with the United Nations’ mission of fostering world peace, helping students to make connections locally and globally. Perkins Eastman Architects designed a circular building for the International Magnet School, similar to the round table setting in which U.N. officials gather for their round table discussions.
The award-winning building was designed to maximize energy efficiency, save water, and create a park-like environment conducive to collaborative, hands-on learning. Most notably, the materials and textures used in the design recall the former 1929 building with its use of brick and window proportions that are juxtaposed with more than 5,000 square feet of custom engineered glass windows by Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE). The OBE team were also essential in affixing a custom graphic to a multi-storied window wall at the building’s entrance. A pavilion in a park-like setting among oak trees, as well as the interior and exterior finishes all incorporate elements of nature.
Architectural Record reported that, “although the community found the former Charter Oak International Academy endearing, the old structure was dark and constraining.” To enhance the new structure, the architectural team worked with children and parents on the qualities the new building should encompass, including state-of-the-art and energy saving features. Most importantly, the new school needed to incorporate natural light and connect students to the outdoors.
Today, the new Charter Oak building is literally green – with different shades of green paint on the walls, doors, and other surfaces throughout the school. “The design incorporates generous glazing in all of the classrooms, connecting occupants to the outside. Windows are fritted in tree shapes. In the library, the same oak tree pattern is created from perforated metal screens, applied over the glazing.” Architectural Record. On other windows, shading devices respond to solar orientation.
Fitting with the school’s curriculum, which incorporates the values of sustainability, Charter Oak is a LEED Gold–certified building and received the 2018 Building Award of Honor from the Connecticut Green Building Council.
“Our goal was to help the design and construction team achieve a space filled with natural light using Solarban 60 vision glass combined with spandrel glass with charcoal frit to help balance the light entering the classroom. By considering the end-goal of the space and bringing team members with a diverse set of skills to the table, we were able to deliver solutions for a beautiful space the children could enjoy.” Doug Dewar, Sales Manager, OBE
“Charter Oak was an exciting project for OBE. We met all the project’s window and curtain wall needs, while cooperating with Perkins Eastman Architects on a customer graphic affixed to a multistored entrance window and working through technical detailing on a curving masonry façade.”
“The Solarban 60 clear vision glass provides higher light transmission and the insulating glass helped meet performance and design requirements. We customized the ceramic enamel frit with a gray secondary seal to match the building’s aesthetics and used a high performing insulating glass unit comprised of heat strengthened glass with a low-E coating to promote energy efficiency. The ceramic enamel frit is durable and resists scratching, chipping, peeling and fading. Best of all, we contributed to a project that amplifies the level of children’s learning. The project was delivered on time, went smoothly and we were thrilled to help Perkins Eastman design their first circular plan configuration.”