Uncommon Schools

North Star Academy 377 Washington

Newark, NJ

Project Details


Great potential lies in one of Newark’s parking lots – and is clearly envisioned by North Star Academy. Rising from the asphalt, a new school will ascend to house over 1,600 students in 13 grades on 6 activity-filled floors. Also taking shape: 2 gymnasiums, 2 cafeterias, and 2 performance art rooms serving as stages for the gymnasiums – all in all, 165,000 sf of learning and community pride.

To continue its incubation of schools, North Star Academy is building a K-12 new school at 377 Washington Street. Mindfully planned, the design gives each school its own identity, with features such as a dedicated drop-off and entrance area to a gymnasium and cafeteria, each for the high school and combined middle and elementary schools. 

Exploring the unique nature of personal ‘‘growth’’ at the heart of the complex stacking of classrooms, gymnasiums, and cafeterias, the school interiors were united by an abstracted tree metaphor - a visual manifestation of natural growth from roots, trunks, foliage and leaves spanning across the multiple floors as students graduate from grade to grade. Directly adjacent and connected to the new school is an existing parking garage that will sport a re-clad exterior and a rooftop play area with two basketball courts. Located in an ideal “bridge” position straddling the city and nearby residential neighborhoods, the parking lot at 377 Washington will soon be transformed in its physicality–and in its power–to provide education, self-confidence, and inspiration for the future to Newark students.

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