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The Ensworth School

Upper School Campus

Adapting a 120-acre former farm into an academic campus.

Preservation of mature trees, old stone walls and several small historic buildings defined the layout hierarchy and site organization of the new campus. The main entry sequence is organized by drop-off and parking along the wilderness edge, with distinct buildings organized around a central quadrangle. Defining this space are the Commons Building, Academics Center, Visual and Performing Arts Center and the Athletics Center. Playing and practice fields mediate between changing scales and context.

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The heart of the campus.

The Commons Building contains the library, dining hall and central administration. A dramatic two-story library, the physical and symbolic center of campus, is used for small group work, assemblies and individual study. Soaring two-story umbrella trusses are the focal point of the multi-purpose dining space, which modulates between formal and informal configurations. The boundary between inside and outside, formal and informal is further blurred with outdoor seating beyond the primarily glass facade facing the quadrangle.

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Active learning defines the Academics Center.

The Academics Center contains classrooms for the humanities, along with mathematics and state-of-the-art laboratories for chemistry, biology and physics. Unique collaborative spaces foster frequent interaction among students and faculty, including generous lounges, informal gathering areas and small group study spaces. In many classes, discussions take place around Harkness tables, where each student is actively involved in the learning process.

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Indoor and outdoor spaces for creating art.

The Arts Center contains rehearsal space for dance, band, orchestra and other musical ensembles, a photography studio and darkroom, small theater for performances in the round, and spacious art studios. Multiple media are explored in the art studios, which feature flexible seating and working arrangements and an abundance of natural light. With a series of double doors to the outside, students often work in small groups in the arcade and courtyard, taking advantage of the moderate Nashville climate.

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