Roger Ludlowe Middle School

Roger Ludlowe Middle School in Fairfield, Conn., represents an ideal integration between architecture and the surrounding topography. Completed in September 2003 at a cost of $38 million, the 200,000-square-foot building sits on an undulating, downward-sloping campus shared with Fairfield Ludlowe High School. Eran Chen, design principal of Perkins Eastman architects in New York, used the variable terrain as a guide for locating the school’s programs and functions. Classrooms are on the top floor of the three-story structure while public spaces, such as the cafeteria and music and art programs, have connections to a mid-level patio. Big-box elements such as the gymnasium and auditorium are on the lowest level.

Glass was used extensively throughout to enhance natural lighting and reinforce the connection with the outside world. “There are many places that are transparent throughout the building,” Chen says. “For instance, you can stand at the main entrance and see through the lobby to the outside. It’s a very transparent, democratic and liberal space, highly integrated with the environment.” The building features a 30,000-square-foot CW250 curtain-wall system manufactured by Vistawall, Terrell, Texas, with 1-inch low-emissivity insulating vision glass manufactured by PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh. A signature element of the school is the library, enclosed on three sides by a two-story Marmet wall system manufactured by Moduline, Wausau, Wis., also with 1-inch insulating vision glass manufactured by PPG Industries. Interior floor-to-ceiling wood louvers can be maneuvered to control direct light into the room.

There are at least 60 operable ZeroSightline windows manufactured by Moduline with PPG 1-inch low-emissivity insulating vision glass. The windows were placed in vertical floor-to-ceiling masonry columns with wood paneled exteriors adjacent to the glass curtain wall in each classroom. Cherry Hill Glass of Branford, Conn., performed all glazing and glass fabrication; the general contractor was Turner Construction Co., New York City.