The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School & Community Complex establishes a new standard for education design and high-performing buildings by creating a 21st-century learning lab. This new building type combines two separate schools (King Open Elementary and Cambridge Street Upper School) with a mix of diverse community programs, creating a community resource that supports student learning with a vast range of social and family support services. The result is an equitable, inclusive, and beautiful community resource.
As the school designer for the complex, Arrowstreet was responsible for the programming, planning, and design of two distinct schools for K-5 and 6-8 students with shared common spaces that include a flexible Learning Commons. This building’s design meets the client’s ambitious goals through its school planning, which supports each school’s current teaching pedagogy while allowing for future flexibility. Each grade level is organized into neighborhoods with large classrooms, shared project-based learning breakout rooms, open and flexible teaming areas, student services, and faculty workrooms, all intended to support individual learning needs.
Science and STEAM rooms located in prominent spaces highlight project work and put learning on display. The ground floor STEAM corridor faces onto the exterior Learning Courtyard to allow teamwork and project-based learning to extend beyond the classroom walls.
Designed as the first net zero emissions and first LEED v4 Platinum school in Massachusetts, the building uses 43% less energy than a typical Massachusetts school and 70% less than the average school in the United States. The building is a Learning Lab with sustainability features prominently displayed to create transparent learning opportunities. Exterior features include 3,600 façade and roof-mounted PV panels, sunshades, bioswale bridges, and a hand pump at the rain gardens. Interior features include digital dashboards in each lobby, custom educational graphics on the walls, exposed “purple pipe” water reuse system, display areas for student projects, daylight controls, and visible heating and cooling elements.
William Rawn Associates in association with Arrowstreet, worked with the City of Cambridge to leverage this entire complex into a fully utilized community resource, allowing for after-hours and weekend use of the facilities for both the surrounding neighborhood and the whole of Cambridge community. The 270,000 SF building includes an elementary school, middle school, school district administration, preschool, afterschool, public library, public pool, human services programs, an acre of open space, and parking garage.
William Rawn Associates in association with Arrowstreet
City of Cambridge
ENR New England
American Architecture Awards
IES Illumination Award
ENR New England
Congress for New Urbanism (CNU)
Award-winning school and community complex achieves Net Zero Emissions
Cambridge, Mass., school complex receives LEED platinum
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex Becomes Second School In Country to Attain LEED V4 Schools Platinum
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School recognized by A’N Best of Design Awards
How Does Geothermal Heating Really Work?
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex Awarded 2020 American Architecture Award
Project of the Year and Best K-12 Education: King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex Awarded 2020 CNU Charter Award
The Carbon Equation
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School and Community Complex Wins 2020 American Architecture Award
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools Awarded ENR New England Best K-12 Education
Kate Bubriski Speaks at “Urban Geothermal to Electrify Heating and Cooling”
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School and Community Complex Wins 2020 Illumination Award
Getting to Net Zero in Schools is Achievable! Showcasing Successful Net Zero Schools Around the U.S. Webinar
USGBC MA Announces 2019 Green Building Showcase Winners
Ultra-Low Energy Campus Case Study: King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex
Forward-Thinking Schools Begin With Forward-Thinking Design
Topping Off Ceremony for King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools
Cambridge Complex Makes Fossil Fuels a Thing of the Past
Arrowstreet at NZ19
Arrowstreet’s knowledge and expertise in school design and operation was crucial to the project’s success as they led our teachers through planning and design. In addition to being an amazing educational facility the building was designed as a net zero facility and again Arrowstreet’s expertise in sustainable design proved invaluable in achieving a 21st century facility that matches the environmental goals of our community.”
– Jim Maloney, Chief Operating Officer, Cambridge Public Schools