East Rock Community Magnet School

New Haven Public Schools : New Haven, CT

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New Haven Public Schools : New Haven, CT

Located in a transitional area between industrial, highway and residential areas of New Haven, the new East Rock Community Magnet School replaced the school building that formerly occupied the same site. The building is settled into the sloping site, allowing multiple at-grade entrances on two levels. Highly efficient in plan, the school is designed as a series of neighborhoods that respect the need of the various age cohorts within the school for a place each cohort sees as its own. Shared by all are the common areas, which are organized around a central gymnasium. Reflecting our interest in creating an environment conducive to ‘situational awareness,’ extensive use of sound-absorbing glass on the interior ensures that from the entrances to the school at both levels there are vistas through the school so that all the important shared functions are visually connected and drawn together to form a unified whole. After school and in emergencies the classroom neighborhoods can be separated from the common spaces, providing increased security and safety, while also enabling the common areas to serve the community.


The building has a significant number of sustainable elements. These include an accessible planted roof terrace that, with its adjacent science classroom, will serve the curriculum as well as the natural environment. We designed a highly efficient VRF heating and air conditioning system that enabled us to reduce the floor to floor height, resulting in a reduction in building volume and mass and a corresponding reduction in anticipated construction and energy costs compared with conventional school design.


Energy Star Rated

Design Award

Citation Award for Excellence in Architecture