Kenneth K.T. Yen Humanities Building

The Pennington School | Pennington, New Jersey

Conceived to challenge and redefine the versatility of the traditional academic building, Pennington’s new humanities building supports contemporary teaching pedagogies and an interactive student experience. The project was at the center of a campus master plan produced by VMA in 2012 intended to support increased enrollment and improve the quality of their teaching environments.

From the start of programming, the goal was to create the best use of space within the smallest footprint. This reflected both the school’s need to be fiscally responsible and their desire to build in as sustainable a way as they were able. A close analysis of the school’s schedule determined that the school would be better served by a mix of classroom sizes than by the originally programmed series of equal classrooms. The resulting program, 18 regular classrooms and 5 seminar rooms, is actually able to be smaller than the original 21 requested classrooms.

Throughout the building, the theme continues: every space works to capture the most potential for collegiality, student-teacher interaction, and cross-pollination between disciplines, resulting in a collaborative and supportive environment for the entire school community. Inside the classrooms, seamless and unobtrusive technology supports varying teaching techniques, and flexible furniture can form multiple configurations to accommodate different needs. Faculty and administrative areas are clustered to allow shared amenities and to make them more accessible to students. The Forum, an expansive double-height atrium, was designed to maintain a constant flow of circulation and activity. It was designed for lectures and events as well as an informal gathering and study space. The building’s corridors are populated with informal breakout spaces outfitted with comfortable seating in fun colors where students can work or socialize outside of class.


LEED Gold Certified
Honorable Mention Vision Award - Education, Floor Focus (2018)


  • "Every Inch a Learning Space" by Cecily Garber. NetAssets, May/June 2018.
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Size: 30,000 sf
Budget: $11.3 million


Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape, Sustainability

Kenneth K.T. Yen Humanities Building

The Pennington School | Pennington, New Jersey

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