Southside Elementary School
1320 West 200 South
About Our School
Our mission: The Southside community will ensure all learners demonstrate growth by modeling positive choices and recognizing the gifts and challenges of each student through a collaborative working environment.
Number of students at our school: 897
School Colors: Green & White
About Our Building
- Built: 1969
- Architect: Eliot Noyes (Eliot Noyes & Associates – New Caanan, Connecticut)
- Associate Architect: Alan Goldberg
- General Contractors: Repp and Mundt
- Renovation/conversion to Elementary School: 1983
Southside School was created in the Brutalist style, a term derived from the French phrase “béton brut,” meaning raw concrete. It typically refers to large forms constructed of poured and unfinished concrete. In December 2017, Architectural Digest wrote, “For decades brutalist architecture was a symbol of the underclass. Soulless, gray, crumbling concrete structures were something to escape from. Today, however, brutalism is back in style. In an age where gentrification is a dirty word, these hulking masses represent an extraordinary period of incredible optimism and determination to use architecture to transform society.”
Eliot Noyes designed the school with energy conservation in mind. The exterior and interior walls are of pre-cast concrete and were allowed to remain in their natural state. minimizing maintenance of these surfaces. The monolithic exterior walls are pre-cast concrete that are weight bearing as well as providing sunshading of the windows. Building materials used were pre-cast concrete, reinforced concrete, and concrete block
The stark concrete interior spaces are warmed and enlivened by walnut-stained oak woodwork and furniture with carpeted hallways and classrooms and a slate floor in the commons area. Lighting (both natural and man made) were used in imaginative ways to make up for the lack of finish and ornamentation on the walls.
Entering the main entrance at the intermediate level, one encounters the centerpiece of the building: the sunny, central, enclosed courtyard – the commons. The commons is a two-story skylighted area in the center of the building. Noyes saw the building as a city with the commons area as its town square.
On the commons stairwell walls are brightly-colored abstract murals designed by Ivan Chermayeff and commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. J. Irwin Miller. Chermayeff was an artist who had worked previously with Noyes on some of his industrial design work.
In 1983, the school was converted to an elementary school to meet the changing needs in the area.
From Metropolis magazine:
“Why isn’t Eliot Noyes (like his house) as famous as his friends? He attracted fellow members of the Harvard Five—Breuer, Johnson, Landis Gores, and John Johansen—to New Canaan by building a house there in 1947. He launched the careers of Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen when, as curator of industrial design at the Museum of Modern Art, he awarded them first prize in the 1940 Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition. He revolutionized the partnership of design and the corporation at IBM, where, backed by chairman Thomas J. Watson Jr., he organized every aspect of the company’s appearance, redesigning the product line from the Selectric typewriter to the System/360 computer and hiring Paul Rand for graphics, the Eameses for films and exhibitions, and an all-star cast of architects (Breuer, Gordon Bunshaft, Mies, Paul Rudolph, Saarinen, and many more) for buildings. Noyes went on to provide similar services for Mobil and Westinghouse.”