Fostering Connections Between the School and its Community
A charter high school in Trenton, New Jersey, Foundation Collegiate Academy is motivated to empower its students to engage with the city through education. KSS modified the existing parochial building, a fortress-like brick and mortar institution, and designed a 3-story addition that encourages users to celebrate learning while supporting Foundation Academy’s mission to prepare students for the future and impart core values of respect and responsibility.
A playful and transparent knowledge commons on the main level of the new addition acts as a new point of entry and gathering spot. This space is a bridge between the outside and inside and allows the Trenton community to witness the learning taking place inside, while students and faculty never disconnect with their natural environment and community. Biophilic design is especially prominent at Foundation. The playful ceiling and columns of the knowledge commons evoke nature, imprinting a comfortable and calming atmosphere that is meant to inspire and encourage each student—giving them the drive to accomplish.
The addition as a whole increases educational space and forges stronger connections to parts of the existing building that were initially difficult to access. The plaza wrapping around the addition is a public space that joins the school with Trenton—a compelling component that not only celebrates the school, but its place within the city.