The new Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center, together called Henderson-Hopkins, is the first new Baltimore public school building in nearly 30 years. A cornerstone for the largest redevelopment project in Baltimore and a catalyst in the revitalization of East Baltimore, the seven-acre campus next to Johns Hopkins Hospital houses 540 students and 175 pre-school children.
Inspired by a contextual interpretation of East Baltimore urban planning and the scale and character of its row homes, the school is a composition of small scale “Houses,” forming larger blocks, then clusters, bisected by main streets, side streets, alleys and paths, rooting the facility in the community. Classrooms are organized into the clusters by age, which center on “Commons” learning spaces and spill out onto exterior Learning Terraces. The school’s classrooms are designed to permit reconfiguration according to changing student ages, needs, and activities. Flexibility for an evolving and innovative curriculum was a fundamental criterion. The open layout and circulation provide ample sunlight inside the classrooms and encourage planned and chance interaction.
The school has become a community hub. It includes a Family Resource Center, a library, an auditorium and a gym as shared resources for residents and businesses. These programs are located along the neighborhood’s main artery to increase direct community interaction. The site’s history and cultural heritage is further enhanced with the preservation and restoration of historic row homes that serve as the school and community library.
The project was awarded the Baltimore City Green Building Standards 3-Star certification, a LEED Gold equiva-lent. It is the first school in Baltimore with this distinction.