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HENDERSON-HOPKINS SCHOOL - Architects: Rogers Partners

HENDERSON-HOPKINS SCHOOL - Baltimore, Maryland, 2014

Architects: Rogers Partners
Design Team: Robert M. Rogers, Vincent Lee, Timothy Fryatt, and Kip Katich
Client: Henderson-Hopkins School
Developers: East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI)
Construction Manager/Builder: The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Structural Engineers: Faisant Associates, Inc.
MEP Engineers: Global Engineering Solutions
Civil Engineers: Phoenix Engineering, Inc.
Sustainability Consultants: Terra Logos: Eco Architecture
Lighting Designers: Flux Studio

Project Description

While most elementary schools are single buildings, the Henderson-Hopkins School is a cluster of “containers for learning” inspired by East Baltimore’s row houses, stoops and social civic spaces. Its campus is a microcosm of the city: students are grouped by age in small-scale Houses that are bisected by main streets and side streets. Each House has a Commons for lunching and flexible teaching/learning and a defined outdoor Learning Terrace. This decentralizing strategy promotes individual learning and growth, rare for public education.

The building heights are consistent with the surrounding low-rise architecture. Grooved precast concrete on the exterior refers to the “form-stone” typically found throughout Baltimore buildings. The Commons are taller building elements that rise above the low-scale campus, representing education as the center of the community. These vertical elements transform the school into a community landmark, following in the tradition of Baltimore’s church steeples, which stand as social and visual anchors for local neighborhoods.

A Learning Laboratory
The campus’ architecture supports state-of-the-art teaching methods and research. It facilitates Johns Hopkins’ innovative pedagogy with flexible spaces that can accommodate changing teaching methods. The interior spaces are modular and adaptable to any type of pedagogical program and conform to students’ varying learning abilities, habits and ages. The “Commons” are central multipurpose spaces that provide a home base for nurturing students’ development. Windows everywhere provide optimal sunlight in every building on campus. Rogers Partners researched national precedents to design these traditional and non-traditional learning spaces that accommodate multiple and spontaneous activities.

“This project represents what architecture for education can really be about: enabling students, teachers and community. Our goal was to recover and reimagine an urban fabric rich in opportunity and optimism for East Baltimore and innovate a school concept rooted in the familiar yet ever changing to fulfill a progressive pedagogy,” says Robert M. Rogers, FAIA, principal of Rogers Partners. “In its intentionally porous, safe, urban plan and through the craftsmanship of light, materiality and performance, the design respects history and supports the future of education and of this neighborhood.”

An Urban Regenerator
The project’s developers, East Baltimore Development, Inc. (EBDI) – a non-profit organization established by community, government, institutional and philanthropic partners – built the school as part of broader efforts to revitalize greater Middle East Baltimore.
To promote urban regeneration, in addition to the school and early childcare facilities, the campus incorporates a family health center, a library, an auditorium, and a gym, as shared resources with residents and businesses in the community


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