The Town of Billerica quietly reinvented itself in recent years, yet their former high school—an outdated, dysfunctional facility—misrepresented the town’s true identity. We partnered with the community to reimagine their educational environment and identity through the design of their largest civic building.
Handshake Building siting puts community space in the foreground. After parking at the site’s periphery, the pedestrian environment gracefully welcomes student, teacher, and guest.
Speech Billerica’s new voice reflects its heritage in a New England mill town while expressing its forward-thinking academic mission. Red brick is reimagined with geometric corbeling, while timber takes new meaning through carbon conscious detailing. Simple, honest materials are synthesized in inventive, three-dimensional compositions.
Dress The school’s neoclassical civic neighbors and late-1800s industrial context informed a design that connects distinct elements to speak a humble material language. This language stands as a metaphor for the mission of the “maker” classroom, a part of the school’s guiding curriculum.
Complexion The school transcends basic academic illumination requirements with a solution premiating natural daylight over artificial light. Inhabiting the prosaic and poetic, both interior and exterior use daylight to capture the rhythms of academic time as the sun pushes shadow around and through the building over the course of the day, semester, and year.
Signature Billerica’s new brand and visual identity are marked by “Reflection with Direction: Honoring the Past, Aiming for the Future.” Founded on the town’s culture of humble pride, our design of the full suite of logos, colors, fonts, and graphics empowers the town to confidently represent itself in any setting.
The architecture demonstrates to students how simplicity can give rise to depth and how we, collectively, can be re-made. As the brick transforms and is animated by the elements, the building expresses the continuous change education can impart on our identity.