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2016 MCHAP

Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center

Robert M. Rogers, FAIA

Baltimore, MD, USA

February 2014


Robert M. Rogers


Atul Patel, PE / Faisant Associates, Inc. (Structural Engineer) Essi Najafi, PE / Global Engineering Solutions (MEP/FP Engineer) Aaron Teeter, RLA / Floura Teeter Landscape Architects (Landscape Architect) Glenn Schrum / Flux Studio (Lighting Designer) Jeffrey B. Cohen / Spexsys, LLC (Data, Audio Visual, Voice, Secuirty, Acoustics) Jason Kolenda / Eba Engineering, Inc. (Geotechnical Engineer) Kevin Walker, PE / Phoenix Engineering, Inc. (Civil Engineer) Kim Schaefer, RA, LEED AP / Terra Logos: Eco Architecture (Sustainability Consultant) Pamela A. Eaton, LEED AP / Cini-Little International, Inc. (Food Service Consultant) Joe Mobilia / Fisher Dachs Associates (Theater Consultant) Julie Salestrom / Salestrom Design (Signage Designer) Stephen Mayoryk / The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company (Construction Manager / Builder)


Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School #368


Albert Vecerka


The scale, composition, pattern, and rhythm of East Baltimore inspired the planning and architecture of the school. Streets are continued through the school’s two-block site as major communal arteries and social centers. Baltimore’s building block of row houses and internal courtyards inform the plan of interior and exterior learning spaces. While most elementary schools are single buildings, the Henderson-Hopkins School is a cluster of “containers for learning” inspired by East Baltimore’s row houses, stoops and social civic spaces. Its campus is a microcosm of the city: students are grouped by age in small-scale Houses that are bisected by main streets and side streets. The façade concept follows the architectural logic of the historic neighborhood block with three different wall types. The building heights align with the surrounding low-rise architecture and facades step down along the street. Street walls - along Ashland, Chester, Collington, and Duncan Streets - are grandly scaled, without setbacks, and brick colored concrete-textures reimagine neighborhood materials. Interior walls vary in character, are smaller and clad in metal panels and unadorned concrete. Side walls, recalling the shear ends of block party walls, are reinterpreted in the glass and translucent polycarbonate cubes. The glowing Commons set education as a visual landmark following the city’s church steeples’ tradition, which stand as social and visual anchors for local neighborhoods.


The Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center, together called Henderson-Hopkins, is the first new Baltimore public school built in 30 years. A catalyst East Baltimore’s revitalization, the school integrates innovative educational facilities with community and recreational resources that are designed to reinforce and integrate into the neighborhood’s urban fabric. A design competition was launched by the East Baltimore Development, Inc., a non-profit organization established by community, government, institutional and philanthropic partners, to develop a school that would bolster the broader effort to revitalize greater East Baltimore. Students, families, and community were engaged through a community workshop to develop the vision and goals. Competition finalists presented to and were selected through a collection of stokeholds ranging from developers, design professionals, educators, and community representatives. The design is intentionally porous and open to the community, but safe and embracing. The attention to craftsmanship of light, materiality and performance, respects the site’s history. The school retains and strengthens the spirit of East Baltimore’s urban fabric that is rich in opportunity and optimism while embedding an innovative school concept rooted in progressive pedagogy that feels familiar yet ever changing. From the beginning, there was a clear understanding of the services and resources needed to give every child opportunities to succeed. The program, like the architecture, is informed by the needs and desires of East Baltimore’s residents. This project represents what architecture for education can really be about: enabling students, teachers and community.


Henderson-Hopkins, a partnership school operated by Johns Hopkins University, is a progressive learning environment for children and a laboratory for the next generation of educators. The design promotes three key initiatives: decentralized school adaptable to age and learning needs, flexible and varied learning environments, and school as a community hub. It is the first school to earn a Baltimore City Green Building Standards 3-Star certification, a LEED Gold equivalent. The campus is organized into five Houses that visually connect, encouraging children to aspire to their future. Each House includes traditional classrooms and flexible spaces for multi-modal instruction and individualized learning, and a Commons: a large, luminous volume for flexible learning and communal lunch, and the connector to an exterior Learning Terrace. The House and Commons organization allows for a decentralized school strategy promoting individual learning and growth. Learning spaces vary in size and enclosure from traditional classrooms to flexible spaces, permitting multi-modal instruction and individualized learning. Interior spaces are modular and adaptable to any pedagogical program and conforms to students’ varying learning abilities, habits and ages. Windows throughout provide sunlight in every campus building. Henderson-Hopkins’ mission is to serve as a community hub not only for students and their families, but the entire neighborhood. Shared public facilities include a gymnasium, sports field, auditorium, library, and family resource center, and their organization forms the institutional front of the school. They are designed to provide separation from the school, while allowing access by the students and greater community 24-hours a day.

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