A Benchmark on Community

October 15, 2020

By Suffield Academy, published October 15, 2020

The Kotchen family name carries a lasting legacy on the Suffield Academy campus. William Kotchen ’60 was appointed a trustee in 1989 and served as Board President from 1994 to 2002. His two sons Matt (Class of 1989) and Andrew (Class of 1990) are also alums of the school and William’s granddaughter Grace is a junior proudly representing the Class of 2022.

Grace’s father Andrew Kotchen ’90 joined Suffield’s Board of Trustees in 2016 serving on the Construction & Maintenance and Long-Range Planning Committees. He is an architectural graduate of Lehigh University (BA) and University of Michigan (MA) and a principal and co-founder of the award-winning, Nantucket-based design firm Workshop/APD. Today, Andrew’s firm specializes in both luxury and high-end commercial development, focusing on innovative solutions and sustainable methods. His accomplishments in the field earned him Suffield’s Alumni Leadership Award in 2009.

SA KotchenQuad

Formally dedicated by Suffield’s Board of Trustees on February 13, 1999, The William J. Kotchen Quadrangle recognizes President Kotchen’s profound contributions, leadership, and service to Suffield Academy. Included in the school’s master plan to create a residential village located entirely on the northwestern acreage of campus, the space conjoined by a communal lawn is comprised of Rockwell Hall and Hornick, Roe, Tompkins, Adib-Samii, and Kotchen Dormitories.

While William’s vision was instrumental in developing the quad, Andrew along with his brother Matt and sister Liz, did not feel the space properly commemorated what their father envisioned. In recent years, Andrew therefore began designing a concept that significantly impacted the space as an intentional gathering ground for its residents. The resulting seating area consists of four concrete block benches of various sizes and heights inviting its guests to sit and converse in a peaceful setting.

“I wanted to capture a blend between the school’s traditional vernacular and some non-traditional, modern design themes,” explains Andrew when describing his sketches. “The brick is configured with various textures and patterns to emphasize daylight and shadows. The cracks and splits in concrete are sculptural elements representing the fragility of life as both students and faculty navigate the common intellectual state of education and learning. The blocks call attention to the past and present and to all the generous minds who helped shape and lead Suffield to its many successes. Speaking on behalf of my brother and sister, we hope this additional feature rightfully honors the life and endless contributions our father made to the school we all love so dearly.”