Choate Rosemary Hall Archbold Building

Choate Rosemary Hall Archbold Building

Location Wallingford, CT

Category Education

Structural Investigation and Exterior Upgrades

When constructed in 1928, the Archbold building, designed by Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram, was the largest school infirmary in the country. Named for Anne Saunderson Archbold in recognition of the care her son received during a long illness, the Archbold building has evolved through several roles over its long history. After serving as an infirmary for 45 years, Archbold was converted to a girls’ dormitory in the 1970s when Choate became a co-ed institution. In 1998, the three-story building was renovated to incorporate the headmaster’s office and admissions, with dormitory housing on the upper floors.

To maintain and restore the historic building, Choate Rosemary Hall retained Hoffmann Architects + Engineers to develop and administer a program of exterior upgrades. Brick masonry cleaning, repointing, sealant replacement, and repair, along with replacement of cracked and spalled brick, restored the integrity of the aging facade, while replacement of the unique circular windows, hollow metal doors, and basement windows improved performance and aesthetics. At the garden portico, Hoffmann designed and oversaw replacement of patio pavers, iron railings, and brick garden walls, as well as reconstruction of the curved staircase at the main entrance. New LED light fixtures sympathetic to the building’s architectural style improved visibility and safety, while reducing energy consumption.

Circular window before (left) and after (right).


Where building exhaust had damaged landscaping, Hoffmann reconfigured existing grating at the garden wall. Our design professionals also reconfigured the fountain pump electrical feeds, placing them into simple ground boxes, and removed a large, abandoned concrete electrical vault.

Subsequently, Choate retained Hoffmann Architects + Engineers to investigate the condition of flooring slabs at Archbold’s south apartments, which exhibited cracking, displacement, and other signs of distress. Before replacing the floor finishes, the school wanted to determine whether slab repairs would be required. Hoffmann’s investigation revealed that the the lightweight cinder fill sandwiched between the concrete structural floor slab and a thin topping had deteriorated and was no longer able to uniformly support the concrete topping. To maintain the original design load while restoring structural integrity, our engineers recommended replacement of the deteriorated fill with ultra-lightweight concrete topping of similar density. Hoffmann developed design details for the recommended repairs.

A classic example of the Georgian red brick style that is characteristic of Choate, Archbold is central to the school’s architectural identity; restoring the building exterior was therefore a top priority for the renowned boarding school.