The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School & Community Complex establishes a new standard for education design and high-performing buildings by creating a 21st-century learning lab. This new building type combines two separate schools (King Open Elementary and Cambridge Street Upper School) with a mix of diverse community programs, creating a community resource that supports student learning with a vast range of social and family support services. The result is an equitable, inclusive, and beautiful community resource.
This building's design meets the client's ambitious goals through its school planning, which supports each school's current teaching pedagogy while allowing for future flexibility. Each grade level is organized into neighborhoods with large classrooms, shared project-based learning breakout rooms, open and flexible teaming areas, student services, and faculty workrooms, all intended to support individual learning needs.
Science and STEAM rooms located in prominent spaces highlight project work and put learning on display. The ground floor STEAM corridor faces onto the exterior Learning Courtyard to allow teamwork and project-based learning to extend beyond the classroom walls.
Designed as the first Net Zero Emissions and first LEED v4 Platinum school in Massachusetts, the building uses 43% less energy than a typical Massachusetts school and 70% less than the average school in the United States. The building is a Learning Lab with sustainability features prominently displayed to create transparent learning opportunities. Exterior features include 3,600 façade and roof-mounted PV panels, sunshades, bioswale bridges, and a hand pump at the rain gardens. Interior features include digital dashboards in each lobby, custom educational graphics on the walls, exposed "purple pipe" water reuse system, display areas for student projects, daylight controls, and visible heating and cooling elements.
Arrowstreet, in association with William Rawn Associates, worked with the City of Cambridge to leverage this entire complex into a fully utilized community resource, allowing for after-hours and weekend use of the facilities for both the surrounding neighborhood and the whole of Cambridge community. The 270,000 SF building includes an elementary school, middle school, school district administration, preschool, afterschool, public library, public pool, human services programs, an acre of open space, and parking garage.