Arrowstreet, in association with William Rawn Associates, 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 entire Cambridge community. The building houses the King Open School, Cambridge Street Upper School, Cambridge Public Schools Administration, Cambridge Public Library branch, Department of Human Services programs, and a community pool. The project is also Net Zero Emissions and incorporates many energy efficiency technologies. The building is designed to use 43% less energy than a typical Massachusetts school that just meets the energy code and 70% less than the average school in the United States. Arrowstreet engaged the future occupants in the energy planning to ensure programmatic needs were in sync with the energy goals and ultimately lead to a building performing as designed. Nearly 3,600 photovoltaic panels on the building will produce renewable energy to offset the building’s energy use. Occupant comfort and health are incorporated into the design through daylighting, material selections, and physical and visual connections with the outdoors.

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. As part of the feasibility study, Arrowstreet developed approaches to learning spaces that address the unique pedagogies of the two separate schools.

The Learning Commons transformed a traditional school library into a multi-purpose, multi-media learning hub with maker space, group learning areas and individualized reading nooks. Technology, whiteboards, and book shelves are mobile throughout so that learning can happen anywhere and space can be reconfigured to meet activity needs. To address the varying ages of the students, furniture was used that is the appropriate scale and type but can also be used comfortably by any age for flexibility.

The school opened its doors in Fall 2019.

Project Details


Cambridge, MA


City of Cambridge

Square Footage

250,000 SF


850 Students


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

Architectural Plans / Process