Marsh Grammar School

Methuen, Massachusetts

This large elementary/middle school is located on a 14.9-acre environmentally sensitive site that includes a substantial amount of wetland. The building is designed in a compact and efficient manner so as to minimize its footprint and impact on the wetlands. The design preserves open space for playing fields, while expanding areas for pickup, dropoff and parking.

To ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY1,325COST PER SQ FT$98.00FEATURED IN1999 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized with the residential scale of the surrounding neighborhood, the height of the building was limited to two floors. Further reductions in scale are achieved through the juxtaposition of materials, textures, and curved vs. rectilinear forms.

Organizationally, programmatically and operationally, the project can be conceived as two separate schools that share core facilities in one integrated complex. Each school is organized around a two-story core volume with clerestory windows that admit natural daylight along its perimeter.

The circulation loops around these volumes in a manner that is easy to navigate and one that fosters a sense of community. In these ways, the building provides both the intimacy of two smaller schools and the economies of scale afforded by a large, unified facility.

Photographer: ©Dave Desroches and ©Bill Scheer