James Madison School of Excellence

Rochester, New York

  • FIRM



    Rochester City School District

  • AREA

    34,600 sq.ft.





This middle school serves two functions: a replacement facility for 1,000 students and a comprehensive community resource. It is the result of a highly inclusive and collaborative process that solicited and incorporated commentary from multiple constituents—city, administration, community groups, building committees and a public/private partnership newly formed to ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$119.00CITATIONWilliam W. Caudill CitationFEATURED IN1999 Architectural Portfolio the center—over a six-month planning and design timeframe.

There were three key objectives: Project an inviting image within an inner-city community, creating an enduring symbol of commitment, continuity and renewal; integrate community and adult-education usage without compromising security, efficiency or academic mission; retain the scale and intimacy characteristic of smaller facilities, ensuring students a progressive, yet personalized learning environment.

In response, the 185,000-square-foot building functions as a student village, with a commons, main street and neighborhoods—each functional area a distinct building block linked by the primary circulation path. Classroom blocks are further subdivided into four individual houses of 250 students, creating a school within a school. The student street is traveled by all daily, fostering interaction among users and animation of the space.

Zoned separately, yet sharing facilities, the Community Center functions as a hub for social services, provides remedial and continuing education, and organizes recreational and sports activities.

Photographer: ©Tim Wilkes Photography

"Exceptional! Solid urban solution...great inertiors...appears to be an excellent site fit."—1999 jury