Mt. Ararat Middle School

Tophsham, Maine
900 students grades 6-8
120,000 sf new, 20,000 sf renovated  Completed 2000

Among the largest in the state, this middle school integrates renovations to several old U.S. Navy buildings/ infrastructure with major new construction. There are two distinct but analogous entrance/lobbies: one welcomes students into a three-storey sky-lit volume, its massive curved and striped wall carrying stairs to each level; the other ushers the public into an acoustically excellent, dividable 900-seat performing arts center and the physical education complex.

The T-shaped three-storey classroom wing accommodates 300 students on each level, divided into three 100-student “houses”. Just off the student lobby, a cafeteria/ multi-purpose space provides both tables and booths and a large operable partition. Between the classroom wing and the public functions, we placed art and music studios, technology labs, foreign language/ culture spaces, and an expansive second-floor library. Using bold patterns and colors, and simple but rugged materials posed against warm wood details, this school offers something for everyone.

Photos: Brian Vanden Brink