HMFH Architects

Arlington High School

The design of the new Arlington High School supports interdisciplinary learning, community programs, and the town’s goal of a carbon-free future. Backed by an overwhelmingly positive town vote, the all-electric school will replace the existing, outdated facility with welcoming and flexible spaces for hands-on teaching and learning for 1,755-students.

The new school is organized along a central spine connecting the upper Massachusetts Avenue entrance and tree-lined green to the athletic fields, parking, and bikeway at the lower Lowell Street entrance. Four wings—STEAM, humanities, and performing arts as well as athletics—plug into the spine and contain flexible classrooms, science labs, teacher planning areas, independent and project-based learning nooks, and maker and art spaces. Moving through the building, the central spine serves first as a lobby for the main public venues within the performing arts and athletics wings—the 800-seat black box theater and gym—then as a broad stair cascading down into the cafeteria and lower entrance, serving as both a forum and informal social space. Perched one level above are the media center and “D Lab,” a unique, shared auditorium-style space for student-centered learning through debate and discourse.

The natural environment is integrated and woven into the learning environment through daylighting and connections to outdoor spaces including an amphitheater, courtyards, and green roof. With its open and welcoming main entrances and glazed courtyard between the academic wings, the new school celebrates its role as an accessible, flexible, and sustainable town-wide resource.