Climate-Shield Rainscreen System Chosen for Sandy Hook School

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In the aftermath of the tragedy that befell the Sandy Hook Elementary School and gripped, not only a community, but an entire nation, hope springs eternal. The old school has been demolished and a new school has risen in its place like a phoenix from the ashes. The design team at Svigals + Partners, a respected architectural firm in Connecticut, that specializes in schools among other things, was selected to bring this new project to life with a heartwarming design that is truly worthy of a building of this significance.

The culture at Svigals + Partners states, “We nurture a creative, collaborative spirit. We practice gratitude and respect. We value asking over telling. Wondering over knowing. And a world filled with prosperous, compassionate communities.”  Although some businesses make bold statements and ‘talk the talk’, we are delighted to share with you that Svigals + Partners ‘walks the walk’ and put everything they say into practice. Their nurturing, creativity, compassion, gratitude, respect, collaboration and thoughtful design process are fully evidenced in this spectacular project.


Architectural rendering of Sandy Hook School front facade (Svigals + Partners)


In the early design phases in 2014 we were called upon to answer questions about the best way to design a vertical rainscreen around a curved wall for a ‘large school project in Connecticut’.  True to their claims, we were engaged by several members of their design team in a very collaborative manner. We were impressed with their process and this considerate and respectful group of collaborative individuals immediately. When we learned that the project was for the new Sandy Hook School, it touched our heartstrings deeply.

Sandy_Hook_rain_screen_facade-1Front facade of new Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut

Because of its design flexibility, sustainability, reliability and ease of installation, the Climate-Shield® Rain Screen System™ was specified for the building’s exterior façade. Although Climate-Shield has been utilized on many schools and college campuses throughout the US, never before has it been used for a project design of such spiritual and community prominence. We are deeply honored to be involved with this project.

The use of natural wood siding materials for the front of the building helps create a warm inviting feeling. Indeed, the architects’ original design intent was for the curved front façade of the building to extend out like two arms, embracing the children as they enter the building.  I think you will agree that their design vision was achieved.

Climate Shield Rainscreen with Garapa and Machiche FSC sidingFSC Garapa and FSC Machiche hardwood rain screen siding at Sandy Hook School

While many wood siding species were considered for the actual cladding material, ultimately two Mataverde FSC® certified (Forest Stewardship Council®) hardwood species were selected; Mataverde® Garapa and Machiche hardwood siding. Both of these exceptionally durable species are sustainably harvested and carry the additional assurance of the FSC certification are from properly managed forests.  The golden tones of the Garapa rain screen siding were used on the bottom of the vertical design. The chocolaty brown Machiche rain screen cladding was used as an accent for the top of the facade.

Childrens artwork on rainscreen facade Sandy Hook School

Consigli Construction served as the construction manager for this project. The rain screen installation was skillfully completed by the construction team at GDS Contracting Corp. of Berlin, Connecticut who has decades of experience building projects of all types. Even though this was their first Climate-Shield rain screen installation, GDS did a remarkable job with their craftsmanship and attention to detail. In a true testament to Svigal’s inclusive and collaborative design style, artwork from the schoolchildren were etched into the wood beneath many of the windows on the buildings front façade.

We extend our profound thanks, heartfelt appreciation and humble respect to the families and townspeople of Newtown, CT, the design team, construction teams and all those who have contributed in any way to bringing this wonderful project to life. In the wake of an unfathomable tragedy, a new school is born to welcome all those who enter.

We hope you enjoyed this article. Please visit for additional information about the Climate-Shield rain screen system, wood siding options and more.

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