Greely Middle School

Cumberland, Maine  
750 students grades 6-8
110,000 sf Completed 2004

After a protracted site search, it became apparent that the best one existed right in the back yard. This new facility sits perfectly in a corner of the High School/ Elementary School campus, and in response, we designed an elongated ziggurat plan. Passing a narrow classroom wing, one approaches a two-storey glazed façade with a swooping entrance canopy, rendering the building literally transparent and symbolically welcoming. In contrast to its brick surrounds, the facade shimmers in daylight; at night, it glows.

Natural light is coaxed into the building through strategic glazing; each four-classroom team is organized around a light-filled “gathering space”, and one large skylight illuminates the monumental stairway in the main lobby. Curved walls offset hard corners, and long, gradual ramps offset twisting stairs. The building hosts both grand gestures and small surprises while providing a versatile, state-of-the-art learning and teaching environment.

Photos: Brian Vanden Brink