Sunita L. Williams Elementary School

Needham, Massachusetts


Dore + Whittier


Needham Public Schools


90,702 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


Design Team
Donald M. Walter AIA (Principal); Michele Rogers AIA (Project Manager); David Mentzer AIA (Project Architect); Jason Boone, ALEP (Educational Planner); Giovanna Chaisson (Interior Design); Nick Beck (Exterior Design); Garcia Galuska DeSousa (MEP Engineers); Engineers Design Group (Structural); Nitsch Engineering, Inc. (Civil/Traffic); Brown Sardina (Landscape Architecture); LEC Environmental (Wetlands); HML (Geotech Engineers); The Green Engineer (Sustainability Consultant)

Nestled on a sloped site between a single-family neighborhood and a water resource area, Sunita Williams Elementary School blends into and takes full advantage of its surroundings to create engaging opportunities for learning. The split-level design leverages the grade change to express itself as a single-story building closest to abutting homes, as a two-story building from the neighborhood across the street, and as a three-story building where views to nature from nearly every space are celebrated. Outdoor elements feature a sensory garden, arts patio, raised planter beds, a boardwalk through the wetlands and woodlands, and a platform at a small pond where students explore local plant and animal life.

Stone and brick veneer anchor the school. Coupled with wood veneer phenolic panels, the materials reinforce the site and frame the aluminum curtain wall systems that improve daylighting in classrooms with light-diffusing glass. Wood, linoleum and tile shape durable, vibrant and sustainable interiors that further integrate the landscape and learning spaces. Displacement ventilation systems provide improved air quality and thermal comfort.

Additional Information



Cost per Sq Ft



Elementary School Citation

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