Community, Flexibility, Collaboration

East Gloucester/Veterans’ Memorial Elementary School

Gloucester, MA


A New Take On Academic Pairings

The new East Gloucester Elementary School looks to support the district’s mission which states “…all students to be successful, engaged, life-long learners” by innovatively weaving together academic spaces not often paired together to support more flexibility. To illustrate this, the design looks to blur the line between art, sciences, and literacy by positioning the art classroom adjacent to the library/makerspace area, creating a “Curiosity Commons” where literature, experimentation, making, and artistic expression converge within a collaborative environment. Going beyond the tradition of libraries as a repository for books destination, our design approach meets the District’s vision by positioning the “Curiosity Commons” as a bridge between the public and private (academic) portion of the building

Flexibility At A Variety Of Scales

Paired academic classrooms are divided with movable acoustic partition walls to allow for the ultimate level of flexibility. In moments, individual classrooms can become shared learning communities with connections to support interdisciplinary work and/or co-teaching. The ability to change the shape and size of academic rooms supports a variety of learning preferences and teaching methods and allows the building to grow with changing educational demands overtime. A variety of furniture, along with additional breakout space on each academic floor, supports additional flexibility and opportunities for staff and students.

Community Use Is Important To The Core Design

The building design reflects the importance of community interaction within the school. The front door not only welcomes students and staff on a daily basis but becomes the threshold for interaction with the public. Upon entering the building, a robust lobby engages individuals with images of Gloucester’s past, places to interact, and the ability to circulate upstairs to share stories in the library or participate in hands-on projects with the students. On the ground floor, gymnasium and dining commons spaces provide venues for performances, student displays, and athletic activities.