Hudson Commons – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist
Learn more about 2023 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist, Hudson Commons (New York, New York).
The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex is more than just a school, it’s a testament to community engagement and a celebration of the site’s history. As part of the City of Cambridge’s Innovation Agenda for Cambridge Public Schools, the King Open Complex is the second project in the City’s larger effort to transform K-8 education with 21st century learning spaces. The King Open Complex reconnects the community to the park by surrounding the building with green, open spaces and creates a central spine that links the City through the site to Donnelly Field.
The building’s design reconnects the urban fabric and invites the neighborhood into the site by removing the previous building which closed off this block of East Cambridge. Situated in a densely populated urban area, the King Open Complex consists of two wings – the academic wing and community wing – flanking a central “green spine,” which runs through the site — connecting the new civic plaza along Cambridge Street to Donnelly Field. The building is enveloped by various green spaces, providing community members with places to gather, play, and relax. The previously paved parking lot has been transformed into nearly two acres of open space.
The dual schools accomplish the City’s ambitious goals to support current teaching pedagogy while allowing for future adaptability. Classroom neighborhoods contain project-based learning spaces, flexible teaming areas, student services, and faculty workrooms, all to support individual learning needs. Additionally, the district-wide autism spectrum disorder program is integrated into the academic neighborhoods, creating an inclusive atmosphere. Science and STEM rooms are located in prominent areas to showcase project work and make learning visible. The STEM corridor on the ground floor faces the outdoor Learning Courtyard, enabling collaboration and project-based learning to extend beyond the classroom walls. The schools’ common functions – gymnasiums, cafeteria, auditorium, band, and music rooms – are located in the community wing, allowing the building to become a community center for after-school and weekend activities, including recreational sports leagues and community performances.