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Smith College Dance Department Offices

Fitch Architecture & Community Design worked closely with Smith’s project manager and the Dance Department to provide new offices and meeting spaces in a renovated former dormitory.

FACD began work on this project with a feasibility study aimed at finding a new home for the Dance Department. First we considered an addition to Mendenhall Center for Performing Arts, which proved problematic due to the high cost of adding a whole-building sprinkler system.

Then we looked at 47 Belmont, a former residential house located on accessible routes to the dance studios in nearby structures. A new porch was designed to reach out with a welcoming link towards Mendenhall Center for Performing Arts.

The first floor is fully accessible and houses the department administrative assistant, a conference room, and a co-working space. FACD aided in the successful application for numerous variances (required by the older structure) to the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (AAB). The renovation also included numerous energy improvements. Blower door tests showed that the air leakage was reduced by 54%!