NXT HVN River Street School,
Fair Haven, CT
The site is not empty. Research into the soil, vegetation and neighboring river reveals that, although ‘degraded,’ the site hosts a diverse ecology of insect and plant life easily rivaling nearby designated “critical habitats” like the Audubon Center at Stratford Point or Quinnipiac State Park.
The architecture wants to foster space for conversation; a long airy porch links classrooms, studios, shops and an auditorium where ideas are played out. The tower wants to hold on to an ongoing history hosting an archive of student work and a critique pit where work is tested. The program is lifted, with respect to the floodplain but also to the ground which is lively. The landscape is lightly directed with regrading of the river bank, the redistribution of young trees at the North corner and the removal of remaining walls