Located within a bucolic campus setting at the center of town and embracing Claypit Pond, the new Belmont High School and Middle School is organized around an interior street linking with distinct High School and Middle School entrances. The three-story central space of the plan is activated by dining, learning commons, and maker spaces, and opens to dramatic views of the water.
A “Universal Perimeter” of learning environments, oriented to achieve optimized daylight, are configured to maximize flexibility. Performative spaces line a “Central Street” of learning environments that place the physical products of learning on display. This elongated spine links performative landscapes with shared public spaces for both school communities, creating an inspiring synergy at the” heart” of the plan.
The Auditorium combines the school’s civic architectural language with the objective of displaying student work in all forms. Wood acoustic panels used in the civic axis of the school wrap the auditorium balcony, tuning the space and defining the audience. A metal mesh ceiling creates a unified expression of those behind the scenes with those on stage through a single architectural system.
The project will become the largest Zero Net Energy Building (ZNEB) High School in the country by meeting the following challenges: Engaging the town and electric utility in a transformative public discussion on energy use, eliminating fossil fuel use from the site—comparable in scale to a small college—and pushing the state-prescribed limits to sculpt a building driven by our commitment to a low carbon community.