Education / Environment / Transportation / North Haven, CT

Slate School

Client: Patriquin Architects
5 Masthead Mobile

Envisioning an elementary school campus that contributes to curiosity-driven learning

Milone & MacBroom led the visioning, conceptual site layout, and final design components of the Slate School, a nature-based, non-profit, K-6 elementary school located on 25 acres in North Haven, Connecticut. The design vision integrated the site’s ecological attributes with the built environment to establish a built form to empower the students to cultivate creativity, foster ingenuity, and inspire a meaningful passion for lifelong learning and discovery of the natural world.

Our design team, consisting of surveyors; traffic, water resource, structural, and civil engineers; and landscape architects assisted in developing and constructing a one-of-a-kind educational facility informed by a concept that preserves the site’s ecological richness while transforming a 1980s-era single-family home complex into a state-of-the-art small private school.


During the site analysis, it was determined that a traditional single school building would not fit the site’s character, and that a school comprised of multiple small buildings with communal gathering spaces for distinct grade levels was more in line with the site’s spirit and the school’s mission. Classroom buildings were arranged to take advantage of solar orientation and desirable view sheds out into the landscape, while also forming exterior outdoor classrooms between the buildings. Trails to destination nodes were designed to explore the property’s unique environments, including upland meadows, wet meadows, evergreen and deciduous woodlands, a stream corridor, and a pond.

Ongoing efforts with the school include the creation of a new greenhouse and orchard garden, a vegetable and cut flower production area, and playground elements within the canopy of existing trees.