Miller Bicentennial Hall at Kimball Union Academy: A Signature Academic Building - 2 of 3

This is part two of our case study of Miller Bicentennial Hall. Part three will explore aspects of the design that make it sustainable and energy efficient.


Historic sense of place

Kimball Union Academy was founded in 1813, making it one of the oldest private schools in the United States. The school was originally built to prepare young men for the ministry, and has since become a co-educational institution that upholds the values of concern for others and mastery of both academic and leadership skills. The school is located on a hilltop in the upper Connecticut River Valley, and the 1300-acre campus is surrounded by incredible natural views and lush vegetation. A sense of place and community is paramount to the Kimball Union experience. The campus is populated with unique, historic structures, the oldest being the Daniel Kimball barn built c. 1790. The architectural styles of the campus buildings include Federal, Cape Cod, Greek revival, Colonial revival, and Classical revival. Many of the older structures serve as faculty and student housing.


Solid bones

The original Miller Building was built in an era of quality construction.The straightforward, classically-inspired structure was very well-suited to the various functions it served over its first 50 years. With its current updates, the structure is ready to weather the future. Miller Bicentennial Hall currently serves more than twice the number daily occupants than it did before renovation. It has been expanded by an addition, increasing the total area by 20 percent. The mechanical system was replaced and now includes air conditioning, but the building consumes 30 to 40 percent less energy than it did before the renovations.