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Oakes Hall Renovations

S. Royalton, Vermont

Project Type: Education and Green Building
  • OWNER: Vermont Law School
  • ARCHITECT: TruexCullins Architects
  • CONSTRUCTION COST: $3.5 Million
  • COMPLETED: 1996

The New Classroom Building showcases an innovative approach to construction, with its structural steel frame adorned with structural foam panels. In line with its commitment to sustainability, the building incorporates self-composting toilets, a forward-thinking solution that significantly reduces water consumption and waste generation. These environmentally conscious features have earned the building prestigious accolades, including the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in Pollution Prevention and the Green Building Award for Exceptional Leadership & Design bestowed by the Boston Society of Architects.

Designed specifically to fulfill its purpose, the project stands as a symbol of environmental achievement, reflecting the values of a law school dedicated to nurturing the next generation of environmental leaders. Its architectural expression combines a modest regional style with well-proportioned fenestration, creating an aesthetically pleasing contrast against the backdrop of ample natural daylight that permeates the interior. From the vibrant linoleum-finished hallways to the deep plan lecture halls, the building embraces abundant natural light.

Energy efficiency takes center stage in the design, evident in the meticulously crafted envelope that ensures optimal insulation, as well as the thoughtful lighting scheme that illuminates the spaces with precision. The building also utilizes advanced enthalpy desiccant technology, separating indoor air quality from external humidity and temperature conditions. This sophisticated system ensures a comfortable and healthy environment while reducing energy consumption.

The environmental commitment of Vermont Law School extends beyond the building itself. The institution’s bold dedication to water conservation is set to have a significant impact on the entire region. By embracing sustainable practices and pioneering solutions, the school exemplifies leadership in environmental stewardship, setting an inspiring example for others to follow.

In summary, the New Classroom Building stands as a remarkable testament to environmentally conscious design and construction. From its innovative structural elements to its water-saving technologies, the building has garnered recognition for its outstanding contributions to pollution prevention. As acknowledged by the esteemed Committee on the Environment of the Boston Society of Architects, the project excels in achieving a harmonious blend of functionality, energy efficiency, and sustainable design, embodying the vision and values of the Vermont Law School.


“The project suits its purpose well. It stands as a beacon of environmental achievement commissioned by a law school dedicated to training the country’s next environmental leaders. Its honest regional expression of Spartan, yet well proportioned fenestration contrasts with the generous natural daylighting within, not only in the colorful linoleum finished hallways, but also in deep plan lecture halls.

Energy efficiency is reflected in the well appointed envelope, the skillful lighting design throughout, and the use of advanced enthalpy desiccant technology separating indoor air quality from ambient humidity and temperature requirements. And the Vermont Law School didn’t stop at that. Their bold commitment to water conservation will mightily influence the entire region.”

– Committee on the Environment, Boston Society of Architects

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