Contextual Design for Learning & Community
KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy engaged KSS to design a larger school to meet the needs of its growing student body which planned to nearly double from 540 to 1,000 high school students. The new Collegiate Academy, situated within the Littleton Avenue Redevelopment Area, is designed to provide space for the local community as well as the school. In addition to academic spaces, the four-story building includes a gymnasium, café, and library—each available for use by the local community. An existing field upgraded with playing turf preserves a sense of open space.
With the goal of engaging the public, the building is set on a glass base affording transparency, activating the streetscape, and creating a welcoming, approachable building for the school and community. Light filters through the translucent-paneled gym to illuminate the streetscape at night, and during the day an expanse of windows along the ground floor provide natural daylight and views to the tree-lined street. Above the glass-encased ground floor floats a three-story brick building. The selection of brick as the main façade material instills a renewed sense of place in the building, which replaced an existing brick structure on-site, and nods to its location in “Brick City,” as Newark has been dubbed. Dark, nearly purple brick pays homage to this context while simultaneously differentiating the new school amongst the historical red brick in the area. The faceted upper floors create a subtly undulating façade and break down the scale of the building in a gesture of welcome to the neighborhood beyond. The design creates a center for community that is at once a testament to the neighborhood’s past and a beacon for its future.