Topping Out at the New Martin Luther King Jr. School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Perkins Eastman Joins the City of Cambridge in Celebrating Construction Milestone on Net Zero School

Martin Luther King Jr. School

“Perkins Eastman is excited to celebrate this major construction milestone for this innovative community school with the City of Cambridge." Sean O'Donnell AIA, LEED AP

The Boston, MA, office of top international design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman congratulates the Martin Luther King Jr. School and the City of Cambridge on the September 18 topping out of the new school campus at 100 Putnam Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Designed by Perkins Eastman, the school, which is targeting Net Zero Energy, is scheduled to open in time for the 2015-2016 school year.

The 169,000 sf school and the 18,200 sf parking structure will accommodate a total of 740 students and 125 staff in a JK-5 Lower School and an Upper School for grades 6-8. Expressly designed to be a center of its community, the school will include a 40-student preschool and robust community school and afterschool programs.

Perkins Eastman Principal and market leader of the firm’s primary and secondary education practice area Sean O’Donnell AIA, LEED AP says, “Perkins Eastman is excited to celebrate this major construction milestone for this innovative community school with the City of Cambridge. We look forward to seeing the schools and the community enjoying its sustainable, high-performance learning environments in the near future.”

In addition to targeting Net Zero Energy, the Martin Luther King Jr. School is expected to achieve LEED-Platinum certification. The building is projected to have an Energy Use Intensity 60% less than typical educational buildings in New England and will save energy through proper orientation, pervasive natural light in almost every space, and high-performance roof and wall assemblies. In addition to user-specific energy-saving measures, the school will offset energy demands by producing energy through photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof and south-facing facades.

The design for the new school was driven by the idea of the school as a community, with the Lower School and the Upper School operating as distinct “neighborhoods” connected by an internal thoroughfare, named King Street, from which the shared community spaces are accessed. In support of extending learning into the environment, an important feature of a 21st-century school, the school will include a City Sprouts garden, outdoor hard and softscape areas, a preschool playground, a teacher’s patio, a courtyard garden featuring an indoor/outdoor performance space, and—taking advantage of the compact urban site—roof terraces.

Incorporating architectural elements and materials found within the larger Cambridge context—for instance, entry courts that reduce building scale and define outdoor space; bay windows that help maximize natural light and square footage; and variegated edge conditions that engage with the streets—the school will be as much a neighborhood-friendly anchor for the community as an example of cutting-edge sustainable design, overall contributing to Cambridge’s legacy of distinctive and diverse architecture.

About Perkins Eastman
Perkins Eastman is among the top design and architecture firms in the world. With 800 employees in 13 locations around the globe, Perkins Eastman practices at every scale of the built environment. From niche buildings to complex projects that enrich whole communities, the firm’s portfolio reflects a dedication to inventive and compassionate design that enhances the quality of the human experience. The firm’s portfolio includes education, science, housing, healthcare, senior living, corporate interiors, cultural institutions, public sector facilities, retail, office buildings, and urban design. Perkins Eastman provides award-winning design through its offices in North America (New York, NY; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; Stamford, CT; Toronto, Canada; and Washington, DC); South America (Guayaquil, Ecuador); North Africa and Middle East (Dubai, UAE); and Asia (Mumbai, India, and Shanghai, China).

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Steven Yates
Perkins Eastman
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