Avon Old Farms School
The campus at Avon Old Farms, a preparatory school for boys, is a masterpiece of Arts and Crafts architecture and landscape planning. It is perhaps one of the best ensembles of romantic revival architecture and landscape design in America.
Avon Old Farms School opened to students in 1927. It was designed by its founder, Theodate Pope Riddle. Riddle was influenced by the philosophy of the English Arts and Crafts movement, which stressed craftsmanship, keen intellect, and social responsibility. She believed that a village environment was the best place to instill these ideals. Therefore, her school is located in her arcadian creation, the Cotswold Village of "Old Farms."
The Master Plan
The school changed little during its first half century. However, renovations were needed for the school to prosper into the 21st century. Rapid advancements in technology required a science center, a modern library, and new facilities for fine and performing arts.
After reviewing the campus, we proposed an extensive preservation plan for the historic buildings and ways to repurpose underutilized spaces. This approach would ensure the future of the existing architecture and provide new economical facilities in "found space." A second phase would address the siting of new buildings within the original Old Farms Village plan.
“Stephen R. Holt has literally saved the beauty of our campus for future generations. In an era of “tear down," his genius and architectural talent has enhanced our campus with a new library, new science classrooms and a new theater and art facility. He has done all of this, while preserving and restoring our magnificent campus with great integrity."
- George M. Trautman, former Headmaster at Avon Old Farms School
Design Excellence Award - "Order of Old Farms"
Avon Old Farms School awarded its highest honor, "The Order of Old Farms", to Stephen R. Holt, AIA. The award was presented for Stephen Holt's preservation of the historic campus and his ability to maintain the integrity of the school while adding innovative new architecture. The construction and preservation was acclaimed by Philip Johnson and Robert Stern in the television series "Pride of Place."
Library, Science Center, and Theater
Removal of old boilers from the schools original power plant freed up 20,000 sq. ft. for the new library, science center, and theater. The heating equipment is housed in a complex out of sight of the campus.
New Service Buildings
All service equipment, grounds vehicles, a wood shop, and a power plant are contained in buildings hidden from view.
This car barn and storage building was redesigned into a new 8,400 sq. ft. art facility. Its contents were moved into the new service complex.
Tower Art Gallery
The dramatic interior of Avon's iconic tower became a spectacular new art gallery.
The first building on campus, a railroad station, was built by workmen from the English Cotswold district. Here they trained local Connecticut craftsmen how to work with traditional 16th century tools. The structure was restored and now serves as a guest house for visiting alumni.