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The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School houses three schools on one campus: the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preschool, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, and the Putnam Avenue Upper School (PAUS). The project was complicated by its small and irregular site; the large and complex program accommodating 840 children from preschool to 8th grade; robust after school programs; and an array of engaged stakeholders.
The design goal for the school was to synthesize the Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent’s “Innovation Agenda,” targeting significantly enhanced educational outcomes within this urban district, with the Mayor’s desire to pursue Net Zero Energy (NZE). At first, many stakeholders involved were concerned that the two agendas would result in conflict over financial resources, which could diminish the District’s educational and community goals. Instead, the process and design demonstrated a powerful synergy between the Innovation Agenda, sense of community within the school, and the pursuit of NZE. Together, these goals inspired a sustainable, high-performance urban learning environment for its students and the community.
Education (Pre-K – 8th grades)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preschool
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School (K-5)
Putnam Avenue Upper School (6-8)
Perkins Eastman Architects
Design Challenge: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, a Brutalist building fraught with challenges, was selected as the prototype school, and the design team was tasked to create both a high-performing building and a community school that interacted with and responded to its neighbors.