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Billerica Memorial High School

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February 1, 2021

Billerica Memorial High School’s designers, Perkins&Will, of Boston, Massachusetts, set out to create a space where students and their teachers could see things in a different way. The target of LEED AP Silver Certification is evident in the many windows and glass claddings, which also serve to lend an airy, open feeling to the building by channeling sunlight into the building’s interior. The educators’ desire to integrate subjects and literally break down walls is reflected in the multi-story “town centers,” featuring labs and universal classrooms, which flank open, flexible spaces.

open air space in the school

Photos are from © Chuck Choi.

Carbon-conscious detailing included the use of Forest Stewardship Council-certified spruce timber, and a “high-performance insulated envelope (with attention to thermal bridging).”1

The history of the town of Billerica as a mill town was also considered and integrated into the design in the shape of traditional materials like brick, which is corbeled to create the perception of movement as the angle of the light from the sun changes over the course of the day. Ash ceilings in the tall, open area top a bright, cheerful space.

The introduction to the project on the Perkins&Will website notes, “It’s a concept we’ve called reflection with direction—honoring the past, aiming for the future—and it’s woven throughout the fabric of the new building’s architecture, detailing, and branding. The school demonstrates how simplicity gives rise to depth, and how we, collectively, can be re-made.”

corbeled bricks on Billerica Memorial High School

Watch a short video about the new school and its effect on and integration with the community of Billerica below.

Billerica Memorial High School from Perkins and Will on Vimeo.

— Architectural Record, Perkins&Will


1. Broome, Beth. 2021. “Billerica Memorial High School by Perkins&Will.” Architectural Record. (accessed 1/4/2021)