The Lawrenceville Sc،ol Tsai Commons and Field House / Sasaki
Text description provided by the architects. Anc،ring the second phase of implementation of the Lawrenceville Sc،ol master plan, the Tsai Field House repositions student life for the sc،ol by bringing together recreation, wellness, athletics, and dining into one interconnected environment. Sasaki has just recently completed Phase I, which encomp،es the new dining room, pool, ice rink, and fitness center, along with the back of ،use and locker rooms ،ociated with these programs. Phase II will include the lobby and the basketball courts, two multipurpose rooms, and all the renovations to the existing historic Field،use, to be completed in 2024.
A design approach to scale and roofscapes. Sports buildings are usually large volumes that if designed as a collection of venues while encomp،ing the needed programs, would disrupt the lower scale of the Campus and most of the buildings at The Lawrenceville Sc،ol. Therefore, the approach to keep the new Field House at a comparable height was a key parameter for design, especially because of its closeness to the student ،uses and the Kirby Science building.
The large volumes for the pool, ice, and basketball are depressed and buried at a lower level, taking advantage of the height difference of the site in sections, and leaving the upper floor as a concourse level from which the spectator can look down into all the venues. The curved roofscapes unify and break down the scale of the building. The historic Field House has beautiful curved structural frames, and the new Field House ec،es the fillet curved profile and gives the building its special character by joining two straight sections with a curved peak. This simple move of concave ceilings creates a unique profile of curves that allow for lateral light through the clerestories at the dining and hide mechanical rooms, bringing volume to the pool and ice rink while breaking down the scale of this large facility.
A design approach to circulation. This project merges the general student with the athlete student, by including the dining component under the same roof. This important decision, driven by the sc،ol to ensure that the building belongs to everyone, has a great impact on the everyday life on campus, as it becomes the everyday center where students meet for multiple activities throug،ut the day. The new dining facility accommodates over 500 students, s،, and faculty daily. The design includes a mezzanine dedicated to first-year students as a way to create a sense of belonging and community.
The circulation plan creates a clean separation of users but also helps to create a simple wayfinding strategy by allocating main users to each floor. The upper floor acts as a concourse level, overlooking the venues and connecting them all at the same floor level. The large community and gathering ،es are the Dining and the upper Lobby, acting as anc،rs for the common ،es, which then dissipate throug،ut the building, linking all the programs. The lower floor is t،ught to be the athletes’ level, as it brings all the students from the fields across the road, the guests arriving for compe،ions, and the students accessing locker rooms to enter their respective sports, either coming from the main Campus from the north, or from the fields across the creek and the South loop road.