King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex Wins 2020 American Architecture Award from Chicago Athenaeum

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Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is pleased to announce that the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex has won the 2020 American Architecture Award from Chicago Athenaeum. Over 130 buildings and urban plans from a shortlist of over 400 projects won the prestigious 2020 American Architecture Awards® for the best new architecture designed and constructed by American architects and by international architects with offices in the United States.

Designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. with Arrowstreet Architecture & Design, the 273,000 square foot facility at 850 Cambridge Street was completed in August 2019 and houses the King Open School (JK-5), Cambridge Street Upper Schools (6-8), Cambridge Public Schools Administration, King Open Preschool, King Open Extended Day (KOED), Community Schools, and Valente Library. The $159 million school and community complex is the City’s first significant net zero-ready building and is pending a certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as the first LEED V4 Platinum School in Massachusetts. The facility consumes no fossil fuels onsite, has a highly efficient design to minimize energy demand, and incorporates the City’s largest solar array to renewably produce much of the energy needed. The remaining energy will come from the electrical grid; and when Cambridge secures 100% renewable electricity supply, the complex will achieve net zero emissions.

“We are extremely proud to have built a 21st-century learning environment that serves the children of Cambridge and the community,” said Louis A. DePasquale, Cambridge City Manager. “This project enhances the neighborhood and is the result of an incredible collaboration between the City, Cambridge Public Schools, the architect, the contractor, and the community.”

“One of the important considerations throughout this entire process was to make sure we successfully met the needs of the students, staff, the school administration, the neighborhood, and users of Cambridge Street,” said Lisa Peterson, Cambridge Deputy City Manager and King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex Project Manager, adding that an extensive community process was conducted. “Buildings are not just about infrastructure, but about the people who are using them. Increasing open space in this densely populated neighborhood and constructing a highly sustainable facility were also of the upmost importance.”

“So many of our goals in Cambridge intersect with one another, and it is incredible to see how advancing education for our scholars, building community space, and advancing sustainable infrastructure can all go hand in hand,” said Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. "As Mayor, I am proud to see these buildings in Cambridge awarded the highest honor in the field of architecture.”

The project sets a new standard for school design and high-performing buildings through the creation of a 21st-century learning lab. By providing a highly efficient envelope, advanced building systems, and a 190 geothermal well field, the complex boasts an EUI of 25. The 74,070 square foot photo-voltaic array on the roof achieves 60% on-site power generation.

The curved form of the terracotta-clad school building is continued through the Valente Branch Library, which serves as a transparent and welcoming beacon to activate the new civic plaza along Cambridge Street.

The two-building organization forms a central green spine to visually and physically connect the City to the park beyond. The complex is set in a series of green and open spaces programmed to serve the full spectrum of the citizenry. Youth to seniors can find a place to play basketball or bocce or enjoy a quiet afternoon in the urban oasis of the library reading garden.

“We are thrilled to have simultaneously helped the City achieve its ambitious Net Zero Emissions goals and to have created a community complex that serves as a flexible resource for its neighborhood and the broader Cambridge community.” – Clifford Gayley and Samuel Lasky, Principals at William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

“We’re pleased that the City’s commitment to the people of Cambridge is being recognized by such a prominent national organization. The facility is a great asset for the community, providing students, families, and residents with exceptional educational and community resources.” – Laurence Spang, Principal at Arrowstreet

The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex was named 2019 Green Building of the Year by the USGBC- MA, received the Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism, and was also awarded Best K-12 Education Project by ENR (Engineering News Record) - New England. These awards in different fields reinforce the success of this building as a model for sustainability, as a civic anchor, and as an educational facility.

Ultimately, the project's building and site make this a place people want to be. The community complex anchors the neighborhood on Cambridge Street and reflects the City's commitment to sustainable and resilient municipal buildings.

Page was posted on 11/10/2020 5:21 PM
Page was last modified on 11/10/2020 5:27 PM
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