The New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) is a circus school and performing arts nonprofit in Brattleboro, Vermont. With their new world-class ‘Trapezium,’ NECCA has become an international destination for circus artists and circus students of all ages and abilities.
Within the first seven years of operation, NECCA had outgrown their original home base in an old industrial building in Brattleboro. In 2015, they acquired land in Brattleboro and fundraised for a new building. What they wanted in their new Trapezium was more volume for aerial arts, a trampoline and foam pit, floor space for the German Wheel, private practice and meeting spaces, and the ability to put on indoor performances for a crowd of 300 people.
We designed the 9,000-square-foot Trapezium as a panel-clad structure with a metal frame, mostly in the form of a basic shed—with 40-foot ceilings. We adjusted the ‘shed’ shape to appear to heighten at both ends of the space, which matches the arc of the flight of the trapeze artists and gives the building a more lively and subtly acrobatic look from the outside. In this way, the space relates to the soaring movement of the bodies within it. The building is heated by a wood-chip-fired boiler connected to hydronic radiant-heated floor slabs—which keeps practice mats and students warm during cold Vermont winters.
The Trapezium was built under a design-build contract with Trumbull-Nelson Construction of Lebanon, New Hampshire. Construction cost was $1.6 million. The project was completed in July 2017.