“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
As Wright suggests in the quote above, architecture should be responsive, contextual and ideally in harmony with its surroundings, no matter the site or setting. When we set out to design a new building for MATCH Community Day School, we asked ourselves: What does it mean to design a school on an abandoned stretch of urban riverfront? This question (of course) led to several more questions, like….Should we design a singular structure, or create a campus of smaller buildings? How should the buildings function? What should they look like? What materials are most student, cost, schedule and earth-friendly? How is the school accessed by pedestrians, buses, bikes, vehicles? How do we address and manage storm water? And the list goes on and on…
Our resulting design for the new MATCH school transforms a paved, former factory site on the Neponset River in Hyde Park into a new campus for 700 students. Some of our design strategies include:
- Grouping buildings around green open spaces (such as playing fields and the playground) that open to the Neponset River.
- Creating a low-scale campus of buildings rather than a single monolithic structure, especially given the broad age range of the students. Separate buildings for older and younger students help create smaller, stronger and age-appropriate learning communities.
- Located buildings around central courtyards to screen play areas from driveways, vehicle traffic, noise and exhaust.
- Careful building orientation helps highlight the landscape and river views, while masking Truman Parkway directly across the river in Milton. The view from the river is actually the only public view of the campus, and the site is hidden from view from every other vantage.
- Storm water management achieved using rain gardens on either side of the campus, with water collection area under the field.
Stay tuned for more project updates and news in the coming months!