Thomson Elementary School

North Andover, Massachusetts

The objective was to build a new school to replace an eight-classroom school (circa 1920) and blend a neighborhood school into a small-scale residential community.

The varied massing and dormered hip roof line give the building a residential scale that is sympathetic to the neighborhood. To facilitate students who walk to school, two entrances were incorporated. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$139.00CITATIONElementary School CitationFEATURED IN2000 Architectural Portfolio2000 Educational Interiors first-floor entrance serves as the main vehicular entry to the school; the second entrance at the upper level is a pedestrian connection.

Groups of four classrooms are clustered around a shared project area, rather than a traditional double-loaded corridor. This arrangement, besides being preferred by the teachers for fostering a sense of community, enables the building to be efficient and compact.

Core facilities are at the entrance of the school to accommodate community use. The cafetorium and gymnasium share an enlarged stage. The school has technology in each classroom, as well as a computer lab adjacent to the media center. A two-story atrium space bathes the second-floor corridor with sunlight and spreads daylight into the media center through arched windowed walls.

"Very efficient and compact plan...attractive exterior."—Architectural Portfolio 2000 jury

Photographers: ©Steve Rosenthal and ©Peter Vanderwarker