Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. with Arrowstreet Architecture & Design and together with the City of Cambridge have opened the new King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex to reflect the City’s commitment to creating a sustainable and resilient community.
The project won a 2020 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum.
The complex houses the King Open School (JK-5), Cambridge Street Upper Schools (6-8), Cambridge Public Schools Administration, King Open Preschool, King Open Extended Day (KOED), Community Schools, and Valente Library.
The project sets a new standard for school design and high-performing buildings through the creation of a 21st-century learning lab.
The new 273,000 square-foot facility at 850 Cambridge Street carefully balances the sense of welcome to all while providing Cambridge’s youngest citizens a safe and inspiring learning environment.
The complex is many things to many people – a school, daycare, public library, pools, school administration, and community center.
The two-building organization forms a central green spine to visually and physically connect the City to the park beyond.
The complex is set in a series of green and open spaces programmed to serve the full spectrum of the citizenry.
Youth to seniors can find a place to play basketball or bocce or enjoy a quiet afternoon in the urban oasis of the library reading garden.
The curved form of the terracotta-clad school building is continued through the Valente Branch Library, which serves as a transparent and welcoming beacon to activate the new civic plaza along Cambridge Street.
The branch library and pools are prominently placed to send a strong signal to all to engage in their community resource and claim it as their own.
The complex is set in a series of green and open spaces programmed with five playgrounds to accommodate all ages and abilities.
The project is 100% electric resulting in both a carbon and emissions-free building.
The $159 million school and community complex is currently the only school to achieve both Net Zero Emissions and LEED v4 Platinum in Massachusetts. It is the second LEED v4 Schools Platinum building in the country.
The project carefully balances the sense of welcome to all while providing Cambridge’s youngest citizens a safe and inspiring learning environment.
Ultimately, the project’s building and site make this a place people want to be.
The community complex reflects the City’s commitment to sustainable and resilient municipal buildings.
Architects: William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.
Associate Architects: Arrowstreet Architecture & Design
Client: City of Cambridge
Photographers: Robert Benson Photography