The Tyler, a mixed-income community for seniors, is the first adaptive reuse project in the United States designed to adhere to the Passive House Institute’s EnerPHit program standards with applicable historic exclusions. The three-story core of the 84-year-old former East Haven High School features 70 apartments for individuals aged 55+, a resident lounge, on-site management office, fitness center, community kitchen, entertainment space, craft room, reading nook, and outdoor courtyard.
The original school, which was decommissioned in the late 1990s, was an interconnected, multi-building campus comprised of a central classroom and administration building, an auditorium, and a boiler plant – all built in 1936. A west wing classroom addition was created in 1964, and in 1973 an east wing classroom along with a southern-facing gym and pool building were added. The $21.5M redevelopment is strategically designed to respect the layout of the original program space by utilizing former light-filled classrooms for units and maintaining the expansive, central corridors typically found in educational facilities of this era. As part of the transformation, the east wing was razed and replaced with a landscaped courtyard and surface parking lot for tenant use. The existing auditorium, gym, and pool buildings remain under ownership of the Town of East Haven and are being repurposed for community use.
The interiors feature refreshing hues of blue and warm grays combined with a palette of lively, energetic coral to enhance the common areas and create a dynamic and uplifting atmosphere. Vibrant artwork, intended to connote the liveliness of a bustling school, is featured in the community kitchen and throughout the hallways. The design incorporates new and old by bringing the past and present together; contemporary units with energy-efficient windows and appliances are combined with the building’s historic details such as millwork, original lockers, display cases with local artifacts, and a stately brick façade.
The 104,871 square foot property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was recently named as the nation’s Best Overall Development and Green Building of the Year in Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards.