An oddly shaped site bounded by athletic fields and protected wetlands, in collaboration with an ambitious educational program for the town’s first new high school in 40 years, gave rise to this untraditional suburban high school. The extremely constricted site dictated an efficient, yet compact footprint, causing the school’s form to emerge as two distinct buildings ASSOCIATED FIRMJohn A. Matthews, AIACAPACITY1,250COST PER SQ FT$178.05CITATIONHigh School CitationFEATURED IN2004 Architectural Portfolio by their unique functions and 205,000 square feet of new learning space.
The academic building features generous classrooms supporting varied teaching styles. Cluster planning breaks down the large, three-story building’s scale and connects team teaching to usable common areas. The two-story core building includes a full gymnasium, multipurpose room and dedicated spaces for music, technical education and fine arts, with the cafeteria functioning as a “great hall” to stage student performances. A popular student lounge resides within the enclosed pedestrian bridge, and the bus drive below creates a street that doubles as a popular off-hours outdoor gathering space.
Places for socializing and introspection serve to engage the whole student, from the comfortable lounge to a new lighted track and synthetic-surface playing field, made possible by unused project funds. Large, open stairs allow for convenient and secure circulation throughout the multistory buildings, and generously sized and placed windows enhance visual security and convey abundant daylight.
"Nice use of windows and interesting use of site. Good layout and separation of community and academic areas."--2004 jury