With a diverse and growing student population, Saint James School sought to create a new facility for their art and music program to inspire their budding artists. To meet this need, MSB Architects was hired to design a new 22,000 SF fine arts facility and recital hall that reflects the school’s character and distinction.
The existing campus architecture at Saint James School is in the Georgian style, with traditional red brick, double-hung windows, and ornate cornices. Because the architectural style is not only a strong part of its history but its signature brand, the Pohanka Center for the Arts was designed with this identity in mind while stretching the artistic expression that will be housed within the building. The main entrance and recital hall, on opposite sides of the structure, are representative of the Georgian campus. Between these two pieces, is a curved, contemporary connection illustrating the tension between classical and modern arts.
MSB Architects used architectural details to tell Saint James School's story. The most easily recognizable feature is the "piano key" pattern in the Recital Hall, where one can see the black "keys" interspersed on the maple walls. But we didn't stop there. If you look closely at the windows on the glass atrium, you can see that some pieces of metal (mullions) are more prominent than others. This is a physical representation of the musical notes of the school song. The lights in the atrium also have special meaning, as the layout illustrates the campus map with the circular lights standing for buildings and the bar lights being the campus pathways.
The Pohanka Fine Arts Center is a state of the art facility, with specialized practice rooms, art studios, digital media, and a music hall that acoustically rivals the best of concert halls. The architecture has already inspired some of the student artists, and we hope it will continue to do so for years to come.