Thompson Elementary School

Arlington, Massachusetts

  • FIRM

    HMFH Architects, Inc.


    Arlington Public Schools

  • AREA

    57,600 sq.ft.





Driven by deteriorating building conditions that compromised student safety, as well as steadily increasing enrollment, the town of Arlington elected to replace this neighborhood K-5 school. The new building is sensitive to the dense, small-scale residential context and is sited to minimize the overall impact.


Taking advantage of the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY380COST PER SQ FT$243.00CITATIONElementary School CitationFEATURED IN2014 Architectural Portfolio east-west axis on the site, the design optimizes daylighting in the classroom wing and accommodates an extensive student garden system, restoring a lost portion of the site’s history as early 20th century market gardens. Programmatically, the school is organized around a simple plan that allows direct access to protected outdoor space for the youngest students.


Many students walk to Thompson, and approach the site from several sides, so the plan allows a central, open lobby serviced from two sides, along with a community entrance onto the K-1 corridor. And because the site faces residential streets on three sides and a heavily used public park on the fourth, there is no “back” side, a challenge that HMFH addressed through lively masonry patterns and carefully placed window openings.