Over the past 12 months Arrowstreet has been fully engaged in the design, documentation, and permitting efforts for the new KIPP Academy Boston Charter School scheduled to break ground this March. The new school will not only be a tremendous upgrade for the KIPP students, faculty, and staff but will also become a valuable asset to the local Mattapan community.

Having grown up not far from this site, I take personal interest in assisting in the design and development of meaningful urban infill projects such as KIPP Boston. I think it truly supports the mission of strengthening the sense of community in Boston’s inner city and is proof of a commitment to enhancing the socioeconomics and quality of education in the area.

The school will offer K – 8 education and is programmed with large cafeteria and gymnasium function spaces to serve the students as well as the community for scheduled events after hours.

The exterior design of the school is meant to compliment some of the more traditional red brick schoolhouse buildings in the area, though with newer materials and a contemporary feel. The building is primarily organized around a 4-story classroom wing to one side, the gymnasium on the other, and a glassy transparent entry/open cafeteria in the middle. The entry is then complemented with an internal monumental stair leading students from the first and second floors while also establishing a sense of vertical connectivity within the building.

One aspect the design team is particularly proud of is being able to think creatively about the limitation of exterior material choices and provide a building with aesthetic value and ideal thermal performance. The majority of the skin treatment in the classrooms is comprised of cement board lap siding with a range of exposures and analogous reds. The end walls are clad in a wider-plank grey colored siding with exposed fasteners and pops of accent color to further accentuate the massing.

The gymnasium is a pre-engineered steel building with a series of translucent and transparent glazed openings arranged in a playful manner. We also took the opportunity to create a super-graphic signage component on the gym to provide identity and a sense of arrival for the school. We’re very happy with the outcome of the overall massing and the strategy to place a more transparent element in the center–not only to create the sense of entry but also link the buildings together.

We’re looking forward to seeing this project through construction and providing more updates as things progress.

Topics: Institutional