Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School

Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • FIRM

    Perkins Eastman


    City of Cambridge

  • AREA

    186,875 sq.ft.





Design team:
Sean O’Donnell, AIA, LEED AP (Principal-In-Charge); Jana Silsby, AIA, LEED AP (Project Architect); Alicia Caritano, AIA, LEED AP (Project Manager)

For the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, Perkins Eastman led an extensive process to support Cambridge Public Schools’ goals of promoting academic excellence and social justice while targeting net ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY840COST PER SQ FT$427.00CITATIONCombined-Level School CitationFEATURED IN2017 Architectural Portfolio energy consumption. The program includes three separate schools: a preschool, a lower school (preK-5), and a newly formed middle school (grades 6-8). There also is an after-school center.
The high-performance building minimizes energy use and maximizes energy production. To reduce energy use, a holistic approach to encourage behavioral change was employed. The building massing was stepped down to match surrounding houses and avoid shadows on neighboring properties.
The front courtyard creates a gathering space and provides distinct entrances for each school. Each school is organized into small learning neighborhoods connected to a shared campus commons that provides shared amenities and a safe environment that builds community. Each classroom is designed to receive ample daylight, avoid glare, and provide acoustics conducive to learning.
The school is aiming for LEED Platinum certification. It uses 60 percent less energy than typical educational buildings in New England and generates about 45 percent of its energy through photovoltaics on the building.