The Atrium School

Watertown, Massachusetts

The Atrium School, a progressive K-6 program, looked to the architect to design a facility that called for the adaptive reuse of an open warehouse structure on a limited site in a densely populated residential area. The project was designed and built successfully in less than 10 months despite restrictive permitting and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$108.00CITATIONSpecial CitationFEATURED IN2009 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation constraints.

The oblong site presented challenges, including how best to arrange parking areas, accommodate green space and orchestrate pedestrian and vehicular traffic through the site. The school’s entrance and vehicular access were repositioned to the back of the campus away from the building’s prior entrance, which faced a main thoroughfare. Cars were routed through the site to minimize the school’s intrusion upon the community and reduce delays during peak hours.

Extensive glazing and skylights brighten the previously dark and enclosed warehouse spaces and facilitate cross ventilation. Large glazed garage doors open the assembly areas to the playground and bring in ample southern light. The double-loaded corridor was enlivened with special window nooks, which provide moments of rest and discovery, and an unfolding spatial experience.

"Beautiful and elegant transformation of an existing warehouse repurposed as a dynamic K-6 school."--2009 jury