HMFH Architects

Chinatown School Designs Put Environmental Equity at Forefront

When the doors of the new Josiah Quincy Upper School open for the 2024-2025 academic year, students will have access to a range of spaces that advance health and well-being—no small feat given the project’s site on a one-acre urban parcel adjacent to two major highways. In an article for Banker & Tradesman, HMFH Principal Pip Lewis describes how the design responds to these challenging site conditions with creative solutions that further goals for environmental equity.

Facing the challenge of a tiny urban site for the new Josiah Quincy Upper School, HMFH Architects designed an outdoor classroom and activity complex on the roof of the 175,000-square-foot structure.

Bordered by Marginal Road, Harrison Avenue, and Washington and Pine streets, the 175,000-square-foot, 6-story facility will accommodate 650 students in grades six through 12. The student body is 96 percent minority and currently attends JQUS, as the school is known, in two different locations. They will be united for the first time under one roof when the doors open for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Working closely with landscape architect IBI Group, the design team placed a high priority on fitting a robust educational program on a small, urban site, and creating spaces that advance health, wellbeing and equity. No other outdoor space was possible on the site, so a large portion of the roof will be transformed into an outdoor classroom and activity complex surrounded by gardens where students can enjoy a varied open-air environment. Opportunities for design innovation were also abundant in the school’s program, which features a media center, athletic and fitness areas, black box theater, auditorium, cafeteria and various learning and administrative spaces.”

Read the full article here to learn more about design strategies used to optimize air quality and access to the outdoors at JQUS.