Announcements 02.16.2022

Billerica Memorial High School Receives AIA National Design Award

The project is among 11 projects recognized in this year’s program.
View of skylights in multi-story dining commons
Billerica Memorial High School
Billerica, Massachusetts

Billerica Memorial High School has received the AIA’s 2022 Architecture Award. The annual program celebrates the best contemporary architecture and highlights the many ways buildings and spaces can improve lives. The nine-member jury selects projects that demonstrate design achievement, including a sense of place, purpose, history, and environmental sustainability.

 

A Modern Reimagining

Billerica has quietly reinvented itself in recent years, yet their former high school—outdated and dysfunctional, misrepresented the town’s contemporary identity. We partnered with the community to help them reimagine their identity and image through the design of their largest civic building, stadium, and brand identity. The new Billerica Memorial High School is home to more than 1,600 students in grades 8-12, a Pre-K program and district administrative offices.

“With diverse stakeholder needs, tight budgets, large design teams, and complex programs, public school projects challenge designers to be at their best,” says Brooke Trivas, a principal and project leader. “To receive this recognition is a tribute to what is possible when design principles are upheld and students and communities are valued. We are grateful for this honor that uplifts this important building typology.”

 

The school building narrates the community’s civic story, with a grammar both reflective and directive. Billerica’s new architectural voice reflects its heritage in a New England mill town while expressing its forward-thinking academic mission. Traditional red brick is reimagined with geometric corbeling, while timber structure adopts new meaning through carbon conscious detailing. Throughout the school, simple, honest materials are synthesized into inventive, three-dimensional compositions.

“I, personally, am both thrilled and humbled to see our team’s work recognized by the AIA alongside such inspiring projects,” says Patrick Cunningham, a principal and the lead designer on the project. “The many, many minds and hands that crafted Billerica’s new school will, I am sure, share in our thanks to this year’s jury.”

The project was partially funded by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the state funding agency for public schools, in partnership with the Town of Billerica. Other key team members include Leftfield Owners Project Managers and Shawmut Design and Construction.

“The new Billerica Memorial High School will stand as an extraordinary vessel of learning for many future generations,” says John Curran, Billerica’s town manager. “Anyone who walks through this building will know that the people and the educators in this town place a high value on a first-rate education for their children.”

Billerica Memorial High School is also the recipient of several additional design awards: Best in Show, IIDA New England Design Awards, 2020; Winner, Education, IIDA New England Design Awards, 2020; Honor Award, K-12 Educational Facilities, BSA Design Awards, 2020; and Award, Interior Architecture, BSA Design Awards, 2020.