Design Thinking Bootcamp

Design Thinking Bootcamp

As a part of a weeklong exploration of careers in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, students from Boston Public Schools joined HMFH over February Break for an introduction to architecture and design thinking.

Great design is achieved through close collaboration between a diverse group of critical thinkers, and at HMFH, we are committed to advancing the profession by making it more accessible. Through community outreach and mentorship opportunities, we continually strive to inspire a passion for design in the next generation of architects.

Made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Boston Private Industry Council, Boston Society for Architecture, Finegold Alexander, Goody Clancy, and Sasaki, Design Thinking Bootcamp brings awareness and valuable insight into architecture as a career pathway by offering a comprehensive understanding of the design profession that includes programming and sustainability; concept design and model building; design development and interior design; and construction and documentation.

For our third year participating in Design Thinking Bootcamp, HMFH took BPS high school students through in-depth presentations of current HMFH projects including Fales Elementary School and Chapman Middle School to reveal all that goes into designing a school building, from detailed drawing sets to coordination with consultants and engagement with stakeholders.

The latter portion of the session was an interactive activity where students had the chance to work on a design project of their own. Tasked with designing a workspace, the activity encouraged students to think creatively and consider a variety of design elements such as materiality, function, use, and aesthetic. Using an array of mediums from sketching to collaging, each student produced impressive workspace designs.

Saugus Middle High School Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

Saugus Middle High School Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

Saugus Middle High School is the first project publicly funded through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to reach the highest level of LEED certification. This significant milestone is a product of a holistic approach to sustainability that considers how each design decision will culminate in a facility that truly serves its environment and occupants.

Water Conservation

Three 30,000-gallon underground cisterns collect water for reuse while rain gardens throughout the school’s parking lots filter stormwater runoff from the site and mitigate heat island effects. Together with the use of low-flow fixtures, these measures reduce the building’s annual water consumption by 45 percent.

Air Quality and Ventilation

Located less than 300 feet from a busy six-lane highway, the new facility responds to the challenge of providing optimal air quality with rooftop mechanical air handling units positioned with their intakes facing away from the highway and prevailing winds. This enables displacement ventilation systems to distribute clean air throughout the interior, bringing 20 percent more fresh air into the spaces at low velocity without the typical costs and acoustical distractions associated with conventional mechanical systems.


The new school represents a transformation of Saugus Public Schools to reflect the town’s vision for innovative, equitable facilities. Creating a welcoming, accessible and inclusive environment for all was critical to the success of the design. All-gender toilet facilities are conveniently located and used by faculty and students alike. Special education spaces feature tunable LED fixtures, giving teachers flexibility to adjust light intensity and color temperature to help modulate behavior and respond to light sensitivity. A special classroom on the third floor provides a designated space for medically fragile community members with exceptional views and access to a rooftop classroom.

Energy Efficiency

Saugus Middle High School uses a combined heating and power system known as tri-generation. Generating electricity on-site significantly reduces operational carbon emissions and eliminates emissions associated with regional source generation, while utilizing waste heat for space heating, domestic hot water heating and space cooling. Continuously running generators improve resiliency by ensuring emergency systems will be operational when they are needed most.