Billerica Memorial High School

  • area / size 325,000 sqft
  • Completed 2020
  • Perkins&Will designed the flexible and forward-looking educational environment for Billerica Memorial High School located in Billerica, Massachusetts.

    Billerica had quietly reinvented itself in recent years, excelling in business, robotics, drama, and athletics, so we seized the chance to design a flexible, forward-looking educational environment that matched their myriad achievements. We partnered with the community to help them reimagine their identity and image through the design of their largest civic building, stadium and academic brand. At each scale simple, honest materials are synthesized in thoughtful, inventive compositions. In this way, the school narrates the community’s civic story, with a grammar that has both reflection and direction.

    The school’s neoclassical civic neighbors and late-1800s industrial context informed a design that connects distinct elements to speak a humble material language. This language stands as a metaphor for the mission of the “maker” classroom, a part of the school’s guiding curriculum.

    Classroom wings support department-based teaching now, but encourage transition to interdisciplinary modalities in the future. By co-locating labs and universal classrooms around open flexible spaces, instructors in different departments are empowered to collaborate in small project-focused “town centers.”

    Billerica’s material language reflects its heritage in a New England mill town while expressing its forward-thinking academic mission. Timber takes new meaning through carbon-conscious detailing. Simple, honest materials are synthesized in inventive, three-dimensional compositions.

    Acoustic, life safety and flexibility in the student commons necessitated a creatively integrated daylighting solution. South facing skylight monitors pour light downwards, concealing a carefully integrated exhaust system that removes smoke in an emergency. This is achieved while acoustically dampening ambient noise from the multi-story space below. Inhabiting the prosaic and poetic, the entire interior uses daylight to capture the rhythms of academic time as the sun pushes shadow through the building.

    Billerica’s new brand and visual identity are marked by “Reflection with Direction: Honoring the Past, Aiming for the Future.” Founded on the town’s culture of humble pride, our design of the full suite of logos, colors, fonts, and graphics empowers the town to confidently represent itself in any setting.

    The school’s architecture and new brand demonstrate how simplicity gives rise to depth and how we, collectively, can be re-made.

    Architect: Perkins&Will
    Contractor: Shawmut Design and Construction
    Photography: Chuck Choi