City of Cambridge
King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools + Community Complex



King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools + Community Complex


City of Cambridge


Cambridge, MA




273,000 GSF


Net Zero, LEED Platinum


K-12 Education, Civic Realm

Partner Firm

Arrowstreet, Inc.


The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex serves as a neighborhood anchor on Cambridge Street and reflects the City’s commitment to creating a sustainable and resilient community. The project carefully balances the sense of welcome to all while providing Cambridge’s youngest citizens a safe and inspiring learning environment. The complex is many things to many people – a school, daycare, public library, public pools, school administration, and community center. The branch library and pools are prominently placed to send a strong signal to all to engage in their community resource and claim it as their own.

The complex is set in a series of green and open spaces programmed with five playgrounds to accommodate all ages and abilities.

The students, families, and faculty of their schools deserve every opportunity to experience the excitement that comes with intellectual discovery - and this new facility offers so many new avenues for that type of exploration.

Dr. Kenneth Salim, Former Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools

The project sets a new standard for school design and high-performing buildings through the creation of a 21st century learning lab. The project is 100% electric resulting in both a carbon and emissions-free building. The school and community complex is currently the only school to achieve both Net Zero Emissions and LEED v4 Platinum in Massachusetts. It is the second LEED v4 Schools Platinum building in the country.

To work and go to school inside a Net Zero school allows us to truly live out our values and commitment to social justice -- and our responsibility to our community and the environment.

Darrell Williams, Principal, King Open School

Awards + Recognition

2023 Urban Land Institute Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist

2023 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator in Health and Wellness Award (Valente Library)

2022 National AIA COTE Top Ten Award

2022 National AIA Educational Facilities Design Excellence Award

2022 American School & University William W. Caudill Citation

2022 BSA Harleston Parker Medal People's Choice Award

2022 IFLA Green Library Award Finalist

2022 Learning by Design Magazine Educational Facilities Design Award Honorable Mention

2021 National AIA/ALA Library Building Excellence Award (Valente Library)

2021 AIA New England Design Merit Award

2021 BSLA Design Merit Award

2021 Chicago Athenaeum Green Good Design Award for Green Architecture

2021 IIDA New England Humanity of Design Award

2021 Metropolis Planet Positive Northeast Region Education Award

2020 Architect's Newspaper AN 'Best Of' Design Green Building Award Honorable Mention

2020 Architect's Newspaper AN 'Best Of' Design Institutional Interior Award Honorable Mention

2020 Architect's Newspaper AN 'Best Of' Design Interior Lighting Award Editor's Picks

2020 BSA Design Excellence Honor Award

2020 BSA Sustainable Design Honor Award

2020 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award

2020 Congress for New Urbanism Charter Award for Block, Building, and Street

2020 Engineering News Record New England Project of the Year

2020 Engineering News Record New England Best K-12 Education Project

2020 IES Boston Section Illumination Merit Award for Energy and Environmental Design

2019 USGBC Massachusetts Green Building of the Year

Project Consultants

Structural Engineer | LeMessurier Consultants, Inc.

Mechanical / Electrical Engineer | Garcia Galuska Desousa Consulting Engineers Inc.

Civil Engineer | Nitsch Engineering

Landscape Architect | Copley Wolff Design Group

Lighting Consultant | Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design

Acoustical Engineer | Acentech

AV Consultant | Acentech

Photographer | Robert Benson

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