Clark Nexsen Receives Two Design Awards for their Transformation of Carolina Day Lower School

Clark Nexsen is pleased to announce the firm has received two design awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for renovations and an addition to Carolina Day Lower School. In 2017, AIA Asheville recognized Carolina Day School with an Honor Award for design excellence. Also in 2017, the firm received a Merit Award from the AIA North Carolina Chapter for their work on CDS.

Clark Nexsen’s Asheville office was selected to work with Carolina Day School to modernize their Lower School campus in Asheville, NC. Following an assessment, the project team moved forward with a plan to renovate the existing buildings and to design an addition – a decision based on sustainability, cost, and preserving the connection to the existing campus.

The Lower School faced several key challenges: lack of a clear entrance and wayfinding; lack of flexibility within instructional spaces; the need for additional space; and outdated building systems and technology. The design team worked with school representatives to create a solution that responded to their needs, enhanced indoor-outdoor connectivity, and positioned the school to meet changing K12 education trends.

When construction was complete in 2016, students, teachers and staff were welcomed to a facility that instructs by design in engaging light-filled spaces. The entire facility focuses on the student experience – creating larger classrooms with flexible furniture arrangements, new HVAC systems for improved climate control, and integrated audio-video technology. With the Lower School serving as the primary entrance for Carolina Day, the campus now features a prominent entrance with enhanced school security.

Complementing the existing facility, designed by renowned local architect Bertram King, a 6,500 square foot addition establishes a new face for the school while housing administrative offices and a multipurpose library space. This addition significantly improves wayfinding for visitors and facilitates efficient use of space, enabling the original structure to be fully repurposed as functional classroom space. The addition also completes the enclosure of the existing courtyard, creating a gathering space and play area while enhancing campus security.

Located adjacent to the town of Biltmore Forest, the school is surrounded by Asheville’s outdoor beauty and care was taken in the renovation design to reinforce this indoor-outdoor connection. Nearly every space in the facility has an exterior view and generous natural light. To efficiently utilize available space, the design features a teaching core wall that serves multiple purposes: while housing building MEP systems, the wall also serves as locker and project pin-up space on the hallway side and provides customizable teaching and storage space on the classroom side. Teachers can adapt the core wall to suit their individual teaching styles while maintaining an organized classroom space.

About Carolina Day School 
Carolina Day School is an independent, coeducational, non-sectarian, college preparatory day school serving grades PK through 12. With a mission to inspire students to become innovative thinkers who communicate with intelligence and clarity, CDS offers a balanced program consisting of academics, athletics, the arts, and extracurricular activities. CDS has an exceptional teaching faculty to student ratio with more than 100 faculty members teaching 650 students. The Lower School at Carolina Day serves first through fifth graders in an inquiry-based learning environment, focused on supporting student growth and providing problem solving opportunities.

About Clark Nexsen
Clark Nexsen is a transdisciplinary architecture and engineering firm providing innovative design solutions to U.S. and global clients. With more than 400 employees working across 10 offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, Clark Nexsen will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020. The firm focuses on higher education and K-12, science + technology, civic, and commercial projects. Leveraging the strength of multiple disciplines, architects and engineers actively collaborate across intersecting areas of expertise to and deliver high-performing, sustainable projects. The firm has been named to the “Architect 50” by ARCHITECT magazine as a leading U.S. design firm and is ranked as a Top 25 Architecture and Engineering Giant by Building Design + Construction.