Josiah Quincy Upper School

On the Boards

Sited at the threshold of Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, the new Josiah Quincy Upper School (JQUS) is a showcase for equitable, community-focused, sustainable design as one of the first projects to open under the Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools initiative. Located opposite the Josiah Quincy Elementary School, the two structures form a gateway into Chinatown, establishing a notable academic presence.


Boston, MA


178,000 sf


6 – 12




Tracking LEED Gold



Predicted Energy Use Intensity (pEUI)

24 kBTU/sf/yr

“This will be one of the greenest buildings in Boston. Students will get to enjoy science classrooms with modern lab facilities, a beautiful new gym to encourage everyone to stay active, and accessibility across the board to ensure that every single space is available for every single student.”

Michelle Wu | Mayor, City of Boston

The exterior façade is clad in two tones of brick to differentiate academic and shared spaces, while large public volumes, including the auditorium and gymnasium, are distinguished by their metal rainscreen façade. Expansive windows along the north and south façades are outlined in a bold color palette, creating a unique identity for the new school representative of its ties to the Chinatown neighborhood.

Community Value

The new Upper School will not only serve as a resource for its students, but also for the surrounding community. Community-oriented public spaces such as the cafeteria, media center, gymnasium and auditorium are conveniently located on the first and second floors, allowing public access and establishing a division between shared spaces and the academic spaces on the floors above.

Transitional spaces throughout the school are marked by ‘portals’–dark tiled archways that bridge the gap between common and academic spaces and assist in wayfinding. The organizational strategy of the layout places all classrooms along the north and south façades to maximize views and daylighting in academic spaces, where it is most beneficial for students. Project areas and small group workrooms are located at the heart of each academic floor, offering students flexible spaces to study and collaborate.

Connections to Nature

Despite the constraints of its one-acre site, the new Josiah Quincy Upper School provides students with a connection to nature on its rooftop space and delivers optimal air quality through innovative ventilation systems. Overlooking the Boston skyline, the rooftop features an outdoor classroom space and a contemplative garden planted with native species.