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Slate School Specified With Slate Rainscreen

August 23, 2020 comm ARCH

Located in North Haven, Connecticut, Slate School is an independent, nonprofit K-6 organization. With an emphasis on nature conservancy, this unique learning facility offers one-of-a-kind interactive programs that have been diligently tailored to serve its 70 students.

Clearly, one of the highest-rated environmentally friendly schools of its kind in America, Slate School provides an atmosphere of learning that can be termed as “healthy, environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible.”

Slate School’s 6,000 SF footprint was designed to be small for a very specific reason. The strategic program was for all interior spaces to fuse with the outdoor landscape, bringing the indoors outdoors… and, vice versa.

Six, equal-sized structures encircling a central courtyard include four freestanding classrooms, one multi-purpose space, and an administration/library building. The overall backdrop centers on Mother Nature, as the school is situated within a heavily wooded, 25-acre site brimming with hardwood trees, a dry wood forest, a wetland meadow and beautiful wildflower-laden grassland.

According to plan, Slate School is a candidate for LEED certification. Building materials with the highest ecological and environmental standards, were specified by the project’s architectural firm, Patriquin Architects.  

According to Patriquin, “All building materials are vetted for durability and non-toxicity. High-efficiency building envelopes and adaptive mechanical systems will keep building operations and maintenance costs to a minimum, while enhancing occupant comfort and health. Building design strategies such as solar orientation, natural ventilation, daylighting and circadian lighting will benefit and enhance the learning potential for the students.”


Natural slate rainscreen panels from CUPACLAD were specified for the exterior walls of the school’s buildings. The architectural firm was very aware how rainscreens protect buildings from climatic attacks.

They knew that no wall is waterproof… and that chemical sealants and other waterproofing materials can break down over time, errors take place, cracks and gaps form, and eventually water gets in. Even a small amount of moisture, which has invaded a wall, can result in mold, rot, and worse, it can decrease the sustainability of the building as well as the overall health of its occupants.

Why exactly was the CUPACLAD natural slate specified to perform as the rainscreen façade material? 

  1. Slate is a mineral product. It is totally inert and ecological, with a simple, efficient production process.
  2. Life cycle analysis, which allows one to analyze a product’s overall environmental impact, 100% confirms natural slate as an ecological option for any architectural project.
  3. The CUPACLAD® 101 LOGIC system is part of the CUPACLAD® 101 series, made up of systems with invisible attachment components that make natural slate the main attraction of any facade. It is a system that offers “facade balance,” proudly exhibiting natural slate’s exquisite texture and sheen.

Completed in September of 2019, Slate School received the ENR 2019 Merit Award, New England, for Best Project. Recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly schools in the country, it is part of a healthy building movement that makes human wellness a first priority, while also ensuring that construction materials have no negative impact on the environment.

Slate School’s approach to sustainability is based on the idea that healthy buildings, healthy children, and a healthy earth are dependent upon one another.

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