J.R. Lowell Elementary School

Watertown, MA

The J.R. Lowell Elementary School sits atop a prominent hill in Watertown within a densely populated residential neighborhood that includes many historic homes. Proposed modifications required careful considerations regarding the impact to the surrounding neighborhood. The school is organized into a lower grade school and an upper grade school, with shared programs centrally located between the two schools. New additions create a Learning Commons with a commanding view of the front lawn and newly established outdoor learning labs and gardens. The new additions are placed on either side of the existing school, creating an outdoor learning environment that provides connectivity to the front lawn and creates a true “campus feel” to the site. The reorganization of the building allows for grade-level teams with strong connectivity to hands-on learning opportunities. Newly created art and music program space within the existing building allow for enhanced opportunities for instruction, participation, and advanced programming options in areas like 3D art, digital media, music production, and performance. Dedicated space for teacher planning and collaboration throughout the building greatly enhance professional practices and teacher communication. Additional “flex classrooms” are incorporated into the educational environment to address the future evolution of specialized science, language, and lab space necessary to accommodate an evolving and forward-thinking educational program.

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“We worked with three other design firms prior to Ai3, and they were the secret to finally getting our town and our entire school system on track for $300 million in new construction and renovations. Their ability to take on complex challenges and create innovative and understandable solutions was invaluable.”

Vincent Piccirilli, Jr. Vice President, Watertown City Council