Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School
One of the country’s first structures to be named after Dr. Martin Luther King is surrounded by old-growth trees, a lush park, and a budding neighborhood. Yet it wasn’t living up to its namesake’s vision of the future.
The middle school was in a windowless building, closed off to the beauty and the community around it. To let the light in, we had to perform surgery on concrete—a complex job, given the steel beams that laced throughout the building and the inability to move walls. We added vertical windows that complement the original Brutalist style, offer a fresh look, and, most important, provide much-needed daylight.
The existing structure, built in 1973, has been given new life with increased natural daylight, an a glass multi-story entrance, and splashes of color throughout.
“What are you doing for others?” It was a question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King. When awarded the job, we took his charge to heart.
To maximize the impact of a limited budget, we redefined the main entry with an all-glass, 2-story admin space and opened the auditorium to create a new student commons.
We also added a health clinic and updated the athletic fields, both used by the school and community. On election days, the neighborhood meets there. And as the school became a central meeting place, another beautiful thing happened: Student body diversity increased dramatically.
–Paul Brown, Principal