Photo © Robert Benson Photography

CASE STUDY: Charles W. Morey Elementary School, Lowell, MA, Flansburgh Architects

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Architect: Flansburgh Architects
CLIENT: Lowell Public Schools

Masonry: Cunningham Brick/A. Jandris & Son
Metal/glass curtainwall: EFCO
Built-up roofing: Garland Industries
Aluminum Windows: EFCO

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Program: A 67,500-square-foot public elementary school situated on a neighborhood street among closely spaced single-family homes. The school includes 20 classrooms, a gymnasium, a library, a cafetorium, and science, music, and art rooms.

Design concept and solution: The architects needed to fit a large school into a small urban street while creating an inviting and intimately scaled environment for students. In keeping with the pattern of the neighborhood, they shaped the two-story building as a series of house-size elements, with every other "house" recessed from the sidewalk. The pale brick exterior mimics the color and texture of nearby homes, and the classrooms' outdoor spaces are divided up like front yards along the street. The school backs up onto a public park—green space that the architects extended by adding a rear courtyard. On the interior, Flansburgh left many of the structural glu-laminated wood beams exposed, their warm tones brightened by skylights or clerestory windows in many of the public spaces.

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