HMFH Architects

Florida Ruffin Ridley School

Brookline, MA

Prominently located in an urban neighborhood of Brookline, the Florida Ruffin Ridley School is the largest PreK-8 school in the system. With rising enrollment, the school faced severe overcrowding which posed challenges to the delivery of Brookline’s strong educational model.

  • Grades PK-8
  • Students 1,044
  • Size 227,000 ft2

Sited behind the historic Devotion House and a public courtyard, the oldest portion of the school was constructed in 1913 with two additions from the 1950s and 70s. HMFH’s design for the 1,000-student school includes renovations to the 1913 building, and the addition of two new wings that allow grade levels to be grouped together and function as self-contained learning communities within the larger facility.

Because most students walk to this neighborhood school and approach from several abutting residential streets, the school is designed to be an inviting place that functions as the heart of the community. Three main entrances converge on a double-height atrium and central stair that provides easy access to core spaces including the gym, cafeteria commons, multi-purpose room and media center.

Framing the courtyard and the 1913 building, two academic wings house three academic self-contained learning communities for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. With outdoor classrooms, a rain garden, school gardens, and natural play elements, the school’s site is an integral component of the learning environment.

We are excited that the Florida Ruffin Ridley School is projected to be one of the most energy efficient schools in the Commonwealth. Just as importantly, the new school is designed to contribute to the health, wellness, and environmental literacy of its students. Indoor and outdoor spaces work together to create a comfortable, yet stimulating, world where students engage in creative hands-on explorations, individually and collaboratively, both within and outside the classroom.

Philip LewisPrincipal, HMFH Architects
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