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Design for Learning


Our schools are spirited, economical, durable, efficient, and integrated into the ecology of their geographical settings and the communities they serve. We understand the challenges of teaching and the need of students for settings that help them to learn. Curricula and teaching methods are always in flux, so we design schools that have simple, carefully proportioned, flexible spaces, formal and informal, that support different modes of teaching and learning, including collaboration and personalization, and allow for change to occur gracefully over time. To promote greater safety, our schools encourage preparedness, situational awareness, and orderly response, with pathways and visual links and between spaces, inside and out. Visibility supports educational connections and a sense of orientation and social belonging. Abundant natural light and views to the outdoors save energy, improve learning, provide visual relief, and root school life in the natural and social world beyond the school walls.

GARRISON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WASHINGTON, DC LEED Gold Award WBC Craftsmanship Awards for Athletic Fields and Playgrounds, 2019

Newman Architects collaborated with the Garrison School community to develop a vision for the Garrison Elementary School site, a large open area that is part of a public elementary school property in Washington DC’s Logan Circle neighborhood. Newman developed and facilitated community visioning charrettes, in which members of the school community collaborated on designs for the site, and presented their competing designs for debate and discussion. Newman worked under contract to the DC Department of General Services to implement a comprehensive modernization of the building, including a gut renovation of the classroom wings, facade / envelope improvements and full systems replacement. The entire 3.5 acre site was redeveloped for school and community use.

WALTER P. CARTER / LOIS T. MURRAY ELEMENTARY / MIDDLE SCHOOL BALTIMORE, MARYLAND The Walter P. Carter / Lois T. Murray project for MSA / 21st Century Schools in Baltimore City combines the student populations of two existing schools and co-locates with the special needs program of the Lois T. Murray School. The project site has steep topography rising over two stories on parts of the site. The Lois T. Murray School (LTM) occupies the first floor of one wing. The Walter P. Carter School (WPC) occupies the balance of the building. Both schools have separate front doors, distinct but approached from a shared plaza space. The wings of the building are organized as classroom blocks that lock into a center section containing destination program elements - cafeteria, gym, media center, and community rooms. This plan organization allows the two school programs to operate independently and to each have their own identity, and in particular will facilitate the use of the school for community purposes after school hours.


On a beautiful rural site bisected by the Indian River, this new 600-student high school is designed to sit informally in its setting, as a composition of building masses that reflect their function simply and directly, with a profile that is as low as possible in the landscape. Interior planning reflects a pedagogy that emphasizes interdisciplinary, collaborative, and multi-modal learning and teaching. The school is organized by a shared, multi-level social hub that gives access to two independent academies, a learning commons, gymnasium, auditorium, food court, and precinct for elective programs. While the school has been designed to promote a sense of identity within cohorts and a sense of belonging to a larger whole, the division of the plan into easily closed zones will support the goals of both providing security and improved access by the whole community to the resources of the school.

HARRY A. CONTE WEST HILLS MAGNET SCHOOL K-8 NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT This project is a renovation and addition to the Harry A. Conte School, which is located in the 19th century Italianate New Haven neighborhood of Wooster Square. Our goal was to join the school to the fabric of the neighborhood and the city. All existing spaces and facilities were renovated, including the gym, swimming pool, cafeteria, auditorium, science laboratories, library, and classrooms. Two modest orange brick and glass additions improved functionality and brought the front door of the school forward to meet the life of the street. Awards Award for Design Excellence, American Institute of Architects, New England, 2003 Honor Award for Design Excellence, Built Project, American Institute of Architects Connecticut, 2001


NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT Located in a transitional area between industrial, highway and residential areas of New Haven, the new East Rock School replaces the school building that formerly occupied the same site. The building is settled into the sloping site, allowing multiple at-grade entrances on two levels. Highly efficient in plan, the school is designed as a series of neighborhoods that respect the need of the various age cohorts within the school for a place these cohort each sees as their own. Shared by all are the common areas, which are organized around a central gymnasium. Reflecting our interest in creating an environment conducive to

‘situational awareness,’ extensive use of sound-absorbing glass on the interior ensures that from the entrances to the school at both levels there are vistas through the school so that all the important shared functions are visually connected and drawn together to form a unified whole. After school and in emergencies the classroom neighborhoods can be separated from the common spaces, providing increased security and safety, while also enabling the common areas to serve the community. The building has a significant number of sustainable elements. These include an accessible planted roof terrace that, with its adjacent science classroom, will serve the curriculum as well as the natural environment. We designed a highly efficient VRF heating and air conditioning system that enabled us to reduce the floor to floor height, resulting in a reduction in building volume and mass and a corresponding reduction in anticipated construction and energy costs compared with conventional school design.

NORTH BRANFORD INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL 4-8 NORTH BRANFORD, CONNECTICUT This project comprises renovations and an addition to a public intermediate school located on a two-school campus. To create space for the addition, two existing one-story wings were demolished, leaving the gymnasium and a two-story classroom wing. The retained building elements were fully renovated and the classroom wing was re-skinned in brick and glass to thermally upgrade the envelope and improve access to daylight. Award Award for Design Excellence, American Institute of Architects/Connecticut, 2010

The new building, canted in relation to the existing, reinforces the center of campus. Massing of a new three-story classroom wing, twisted to face the street, acknowledges the relationship between school and town. A chain of single-story, special-purpose rooms creates other smaller campus places and mediates between the scale of the new three story wing and its setting.

North Branford Intermediate School (continued)

NATHAN HALE SCHOOL PRE-K TO 8 NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT The early twentieth century brick schools that appear in so many older cities and towns speak simply but emphatically of a public duty to provide 3-Rs instruction to the young of the community. The original Nathan Hale Elementary School was typical — a red brick 3-story building set back about 25 feet from the street, with a combination gymnasium and auditorium at its center and classrooms on the perimeter. We restored the old building to retain and clarify its original character, introduced more natural light,

turned the gymnasium into a library and increased the building efficiency, turning spaces that had been unneeded stairs, washrooms and mechanical spaces into classrooms and teaching support spaces. We used the addition to answer today’s demands for schools in the community and to express a new expanded revitalized vision of the school’s role. The new front door is at grade level and draws students and parents into a new circulation hub that links new to old, to meeting spaces, cafeteria, the gymnasium, to academic areas, and the specialized and general teaching spaces required for upper classes.

Awards Design Citation, Boston Society of Architects/IIDA and ASID, 2004 Blue Ribbon Award, 9th Annual Connecticut Real Estate Awards, 2004 Award for Design Excellence, Built Project, American Institute of Architects Connecticut, 2003

AUGUSTA TROUP MAGNET ACADEMY OF SCIENCES NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT This Pre-K to 8 project restores, reconfigures and adds space to a 1920’s school building to increase its efficiency and functionality in order to meet the needs of a contemporary curriculum. A large, red brick mass set apart from neighbors on a full city block, the original school building was an imposing but unwelcoming presence in its inner city neighborhood setting. Using a few large new building elements — the gymnasium, stair tower, and mechanical building — we turned what was an uncongenial place into a light-filled entrance to the school. Award Honor Award, American Institute of Architects, Connecticut, 2012


As architects, we believe that what we make can improve the lives of people. We want to realize the idea of a better, richer place, made palpable through the shaping of space, place, form, and climate. The places we make reflect our affection for ordinary human interchange and commerce, and for what lies beneath. People need to belong to something larger, to make connections with others and the world, and to make order out of chaos. So the architecture they inhabit needs to represent something larger than either the individual or the group, yet provide places where they can both be themselves and recognize the social and cultural structures that surround them.

300 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511



1054 31st Street NW, Suite 140, Washington, DC 20007 www.newmanarchitects.com



Profile for Newman Architects

K-12 Design for Learning  

Newman Architects has designed several projects for K-12 schools, all of which promote learning, safety, collaboration, and socialization.

K-12 Design for Learning  

Newman Architects has designed several projects for K-12 schools, all of which promote learning, safety, collaboration, and socialization.


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