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Designing With History And Technology The Hop Brook School: A Case Study

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.146.1 - 1.146.6



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Davis

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2206


Daniel Davis, AIA Architectural Engineering Technology Ward College, University of Hartford


The Hop Brook School in Naugatuck, Connecticut, is a project that blends history with technology. The cost effectiveness that resulted from using the most advanced technologies available allowed the traditional style additions and renovations at the Hop Brook School to be possible. It was not long ago that sympathetic additions to historically sensitive buildings were precluded due to the expense. In this project, however, not only was it possible to provide sympathetic and sensitive additions and renovations but it was done within the limits of an extremely cost conscious public school budget. The remodeled school, which won a 1994 Design Award from AIA/Connecticut and a 1995 Preservation Award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, was a successful synthesis of traditional and technological construction techniques and planning principles.

Architectural History of Naugatuck

The Hop Brook School was originally designed in 1914 by Connecticut’s most prominent female architect, Theodate Pope Riddle, at the request of local industrialist Harris Whittemore. In addition to the Hop Brook School, the Whittemore family is responsible for several major contributions to the architecturally rich community of Naugatuck, often employing the best architects of the day. The resulting buildings, though not related to each other stylistically or through the use of materials, provide a variety of experiences and in effect create a small architectural museum within the town.

It is important to understand the architectural heritage of Naugatuck to fully appreciate the architectural and historical obligations of this project. Most of the architecturally significant structures are concentrated around the green. One arrives at the green by traveling across the Whittemore Bridge, dedicated in 1914 and designed by Henry Bacon, winner of the 1923 AIA Gold Medal. The green, with its pink granite fountain, landscaping and paths, as well as the immediately surrounding structures, were all designed by McKim, Mead and White, the country’s most fashionable architectural firm at the turn of the century.

Constructed in 1892-94, the Salem School faces the green, and visually terminates the major eastbound road into town. On the hill above this building sits the more severely classical Hillside School. Built in 1901-05, it is effectively a temple on an acropolis, overlooking the green. On the east side of the green, opposite the schools, McKiw Mead and White designed a small but impressive granite library in 1894. For the narrow site between the library and the Victorian Town Hall they also designed the rather modest Naugatuck National Bank (1893- 94). Unfortunately, it was subsequently demolished along with the original Town Hall to make way for a new

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Davis, D. (1996, June), Designing With History And Technology The Hop Brook School: A Case Study Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5972

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