Choate Rosemary Hall just unveiled its new 51,761 sf Ann and George Colony Hall. The new academic building is dedicated to music, dance and voice studies. It features 1,070-person auditorium serving as a place for regular school-wide meetings as well as for orchestral and vocal performances. A 100-seat recital hall provides music rehearsal space, it is surrounded by additional practice rooms, classrooms, a percussion studio, and a green room. A dance studio sits on the upper floor. Rehearsal and performance spaces throughout the building can easily be used as classrooms.
The new building was designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects as an architectural complement to the adjacent Paul Mellon Arts Center that was designed by I. M. Pei in 1972. Exterior of concrete, aluminum and glass curtain wall continue the PMAC’s materials palette and late modernist architectural style.
Our job involved creating a complex graphic sign program that addressed functional and stylistic requirements, allow easy navigation throughout the contemporary interior. It also creates a visual connection consistent with the rest of campus tradition rooted in the late 19th century.
All exterior and naming opportunity signs are designed as freestanding letterforms set in Garamond typeface, which is prevalent throughout campus, giving the new building its sense of place. Signs fabricated in brushed stainless steel.
Interior ADA signs are given a rectangular “golden section” format, made in sandblasted clear acrylic. They have a sensual translucent quality with raised copy, set in Helvetica – a clear and elegant modern typeface. Left side of each plaque has a 45º beveled edge – a unique feature, a nod to the building architecture.
Donor Recognition Wall was fabricated in brushed stainless steel with acid etched and filled graphics also in Helvetica. Left edge of individual name plates have a mirror polished 45º beveled edge, as a feature detail consistent with the rest of interior signs
Building dedication date is in stainless steel, numbers inlaid in concrete plate adjacent to the main entrance. Set in Clarendon typeface, the same as the dedication date of PMAC, across the alley, installed in 1972.
At Mr. Colony’s personal request, we were excited to incorporate an Easter Egg surprise visible only to the initiated few: an acronym on the underside of the crossbar of the exterior sign letter "A", above the main entrance to the building. The three-letter signature was rendered as a traditional silversmith hallmark, one finds on antique tableware.
Only Mr. Colony’s devoted friends know the meaning behind the acronym.
All photos by Reven Wurman