The Grayson Student Center restores and enlivens an existing 1954 gymnasium into a multidisciplinary social and performance venue with stunning Lake Winnipesaukee views. The project has been transformative for Brewster Academy’s campus, merging multiple programmatic needs into one flexible space. A central gathering and event space is directly supported by a café and commercial kitchen, student collaboration rooms, and a specialty-use classroom designed to be flexible for events via an operable glass partition. A new second floor was constructed within the former gymnasium space to create a dance studio and black box performance space, which both connect to the Commons via a perimeter mezzanine. The direct and visual connections between these social, practice, and performance programs, on multiple levels, promote a rich blend of cross-disciplinary interactions between students and faculty. The building breathes new life into Brewster Academy’s central campus.
The project’s early goals were to reuse an existing building rather than build new, which significantly reduced new construction materials. By strategically opening the masonry façade to the lake, adding a second floor into the gymnasium, and improving overall thermal and energy systems, the interior is now a vibrant and accessible space filled with natural light. Exterior louvers shade the large window openings to reduce solar heat gain while providing amazing views from almost every space. The Grayson Student Center has become a new hub for activity on campus, bringing the school’s and town’s community together for myriad types of social interactions within a spirit-lifting and modern space.