Originally funded by the Graham Foundation, this design for 63 units of housing in Lowell, Massachusetts is the result of an investigation of a new building type and program that combines housing with educational space/services.
An on-site after-school program allows school-aged residents to receive mentoring from local university students. The mentors assist students in completing their homework assignments and provide supplementary instruction. The mentors receive credits from the participating universities. Resident students who graduate from this program and are accepted by the local university are eligible for scholarships.
Through a unique collaboration of institutions, politicians, city employees, and private individuals, this project has evolved from an experimental project to a potential real-world application of architectural research. The Lowell project investigates the conversion of an existing abandoned school, as well the addition of two new structures.
This program attempts to address the needs of the children and parents of low and moderate income groups by providing a positive and structured environment, especially during after-school hours. Most importantly, this project provides means for children to realize dreams of pursuing higher education.
The architectural objectives of this project are modest. First, design the educational component of this project so that it is integral to the public framework of this complex. Second, integrate this complex’s public spaces with the existing neighborhood. Third, provide educational environments that are supportive of the program’s charter. Fourth, allow the educational space to have a prominent public face while providing privacy for resident students. Fifth, reduce the stigma of multi-family housing by creating multiple entrances at grade.