HMFH Architects

Boston Renaissance
Charter Public School

Hyde Park, MA

Through careful reuse of two very different buildings and modest new construction, the new facility for the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School serves more than 800 students. The buildings, which span three centuries, are combined into a sustainable, energy-efficient, dynamic learning environment for 21st-century urban students and their families.

HMFH met the challenge of not only preserving historic buildings, they also provided the design ingenuity to provide all of the spaces needed for our broad curriculum including arts, language, music, physical education, and health. The result aligns perfectly with our commitment to educating and inspiring the whole child. Our beautiful school sends a powerful message that we care to our students and parents. It is a pleasure to witness their pride and joy.

Dr. Roger Harris Superintendent and CEO, Boston Renaissance Charter Public School
  • Students 885
  • Grades K-6
  • Size 105,000 ft2

The new Boston Renaissance Charter Public School revitalizes a former industrial site in the Readville industrial area of Hyde Park, which contained a 70,000 sf, 19th-century heavy timber and masonry mill building and a 20,000 sf mid-20th century metal-siding and concrete block warehouse building. The new school building joins these two structures with a 15,000 sf addition and uses each building’s best features while adapting them for educational purposes.


The long perimeter and abundant windows that once brought daylight into the assembly line of the American Tool and Manufacturing Company building prior to the era of electricity dovetail perfectly with 21st-century automated daylighting systems to create a balance of modern technology and old-world design that enhance the school’s sustainability. Rather than disguising the mill building’s original form and use, the team used every opportunity to reveal and enhance its historic components, showcasing historic architectural elements as teaching tools. Original columns, ceilings, and masonry were preserved and sandblasted throughout the building, particularly at the main entrance, revealing to students and visitors the possibilities contained within the landmarks from the past. The ceilings are designed to expose the mill building’s structure and allow for full window height and energy-efficient replica windows.


The new school, highly visible both from Hyde Park Avenue and from the adjacent Amtrak and commuter rail line, uses its handsomely restored exterior and bright, prominent signage to announce its presence as a community anchor.


The new Boston Renaissance Charter Public School does more than just spruce up an old mill building; it integrates the region's history into the daily lives of students, families, teachers, and neighbors.

Michael FeloneyExecutive Director, Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation

The ample outdoor play area and space for the school’s comprehensive student services, which include on-site dental and vision care, two classrooms each for art, music, dance, and physical education and spaces for physical, occupational, and speech therapy, make it possible for the school to more easily implement its ‘whole child’ philosophy.

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