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mess ag e f ro m t h e h e a d o f s c h o o l

Gabriel Cooney



or a moment, imagine that you are walking into the chapel. You step through the double doors into the small, silent entryway. From there, you pass through the interior doors, under the worn wooden beam, and into the large, two-storied space. This room is beautiful—simple, clean, and bright. Its weathered wood comforts; its soaring height inspires. It is a place that fills those who come here with joy, with peace. It is a house of stories, a sacred place—a place of history, of community, of lives captured in words, music, and laughter. It lends meaning and structure to our school’s most celebrated rite of passage: the senior chapel. In his book The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman talks about the need to put human beings at the center of design, to match the things we make with the way humans think and act. The result, to quote faculty member Chris Rowe, has the power to “delight” us. The chapel does precisely that, and more: It serves its core purpose perfectly, yet it is also adaptable to other important gatherings, from school meetings to concerts, even many CA weddings. In this issue’s feature story, “Life at the Center of Design,” we profile alumnae/i who are bringing these principles to life in their work. They are transforming our ideas about space by focusing design on human needs. From Boston to Brooklyn, Maine to Africa, these projects have transformed spaces, while keeping humans at the center of them. Our goals for CA’s main campus are similar. In the next decade, we need to renovate and build spaces that serve our students and our teachers the way the chapel does; spaces that honor our past, while providing for our evolving 2

needs; spaces that are beautiful, whose design inspires and delights; and always, spaces and buildings that are true to CA’s human scale. In the previous issue of this magazine, I described how, in thinking about our vision for Concord Academy, we began with a simple but critical question: What should teaching and learning at CA look like in the future? In answering that question, we have developed a strategic plan that will honor and build on CA’s history by deepening our model of engaged teaching and learning, and doing so in time for our centennial in 2022. Like the architects in this issue, and like the chapel, we will keep our educational and human needs, as well as our history, at the center of our plans. I look forward to sharing our vision and our plans with you in the coming months. Sincerely,

Rick Hardy Head of School Dresden Endowed Chair

CA Magazine Spring 2014 Issue  
CA Magazine Spring 2014 Issue