The Wheeler School Conceptualising Academics And Design

The Wheeler School and it’s urban campus in Providence, RI, revolves around this tiny Student Center. The school is confined by its small size, lack of open space, and historic neighbourhood position. The campus, which is made up of substantial, institutional brick buildings and converted residential structures, faces inward and away from the town.

Nulman Lewis Student Center And The Campus Courtyard

The Wheeler School Nulman Lewis Student Center / Ann Beha Architects,© David Lamb Photography

The Nulman Lewis Student Center takes a different approach: it’s open, inviting, and undeniably modern. It is the new arrival entrance, which faces the community and greets them. This building looks forward, pushing contemporary architectural expression inside a historic context, despite the location and neighborhood’s assumption that a conventional building would be the only appropriate answer for its surroundings.


Student centre programmes can be extensive and costly. This little connecting building, with a footprint of only 5,000 square feet, has helped make nearby spaces more relevant to the educational programme. The chosen location, which was previously a maintenance and dumpster area, now strengthens a campus edge and connects to the expanded campus courtyard. The new structure connects two historic structures, the Alumni House and the Student Union, and allows for simple movement along a new campus spine. Every school day, more than 1,000 kids enter this building, where they will find the nearby remodelled café, lockers, classrooms, and information centre – as well as each other. Staff, students, instructors, and parents have all worked together.

Visibility And Opacity Of The Wheeler School

The Wheeler School Nulman Lewis Student Center / Ann Beha Architects,© David Lamb Photography

This structure combines visibility and opacity with its unusual horizontal glass and zinc panel curtain wall system. Its massing responds to the architectural organisation and horizontal datum of its companion structures, as well as the residential scale of the nearby historic neighbourhood. The cast-in-place concrete framework of the building is visible on the interior as a continuous and durable finish for walls and floors. Students can see how the structure was put together through this purposefully simplistic and less “finished” style. Three buildings are connected by a steel stair with glass balustrades.


Written By Ankit Lad | Subscribe To Our Telegram Channel To Get Latest Updates And Don’t Forget To Follow Our Social Media Handles Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter. To Get the Latest Updates From Arco Unico

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