HMFH Architects

Concord Elementary Schools

Concord, NH

An opportunity to rethink school design for the 21st century results in three stunning new elementary schools for a New Hampshire community. A testament to the power of a visionary client working collaboratively with an experienced design team.

There is a time for whole class instruction but, increasingly, our curriculum is designed to be more personalized. The learning corridor and the small group instruction areas support that personalization.

Christine Rath Superintendent of Schools
  • Schools 3
  • Grades PK - 5
  • Size 64,000 - 73,000 ft2

Initiated by the Concord’s visionary Superintendent of Schools, who worked collaboratively with her academic team, the planning discussions probed the very nature of 21st-century learning. Based on observations from seasoned educators about the way students learn, there was great advocacy for active and engaging environments that support a range of student learning styles. The design for the three new schools grew from the primary goals as outlined during the community planning process—learning environments must support collaboration and be easily accessible, and spaces should be flexible and inherently adaptable to reflect the dynamic and fluid nature of learning.


The project consolidated six aging elementary schools into three new facilities in Concord, New Hampshire. Built with the budget of a ‘traditional’ school, the innovative program features multi-use Learning Corridors – shared spaces that weave through each school outside classroom doors. These spaces integrate project-based learning into the daily curriculum with discrete spaces for media presentation, performance, quiet individual learning and small group projects. As the heart of the school, the learning corridors promote collaboration between students and educators, maximize technologies, and create opportunities for interdisciplinary and inter-grade learning.


The Learning Corridor’s open plan – containing subdivided, varied learning environments – fosters a sense of community and collaboration.

Working closely with Concord’s educational community, a program was developed that reflects the change in the way teaching and learning occur, from the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student to a more interactive model. Watch the video to learn more about this model and see how the Learning Commons is utilized by both students and teachers.


It appears to be a school for kids… the colors are very bright and fun. It’s the opposite of boring.

StudentAbbot-Downing Elementary School
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