Awards and Honors, Institutional News

Bennington Commons Receives American Architecture Award

The renovation of the Bennington College Commons, completed in Fall 2019, has been awarded a 2021 American Architecture Award.

The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design has awarded over 120 new buildings, commercial and institutional developments, landscape architecture, and urban planning projects from 43 nations for The American Architecture Awards for 2021.

About the Renovation

The renovation of Commons—a prominent academic and social hub on campus—transformed the space into an active, lively, and sustainable core at the heart of the Bennington campus. Working within the given footprint, the Commons renovation maintained the building’s historic character while modernizing it for the present day. Among the central tenets of the design were optimizing natural lighting and providing views and physical access to the outdoors, providing energy-efficient systems, and setting up the building for its future conversion to “net zero” operations.

Upgrades to the mechanical systems, new fenestration and vertical openings, and programmatic layouts were all designed in relation to these ambitions. New exterior hardscape and walking paths stitch the building into the fabric of the greater campus, making the site more accessible while extending dining and recreation spaces outdoors. By taking a sensitive approach to this renovation, Christoff:Finio Architecture designed a series of interventions that dramatically improved operational efficiency while carrying on the tradition that the building represents.

The end result is a building that is as authentic to the 21st century as it is to the last. It is a building that embodies Bennington College’s ethos: innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability.