A New Campus in the Historic North End

Inside-Out thinking creates innovative spaces for Boston’s oldest school

Eliot Innovation School | 173 Salem Street

City of Boston
Boston, Massachusetts

The rapid success of the Eliot K-8 Innovation School spurred the need for new facilities. Working with the City on site acquisition and building renovations, Finegold Alexander re-imagined three connected buildings on Salem Street to preserve the school within the community. The historic exteriors were preserved, while the interior was completely rebuilt, creating accessibility, and allowing for the insertion of not only educational spaces, but also a two-story physical education space and a cafeteria at the heart of the school. 400 students now study in light-filled classrooms, just down the street from the Old North Church – surrounded by history and preparing for tomorrow.

(Photo credit: Edward Caruso Photography)

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41,280 SF
Preservation, Renovation, Adaptive Reuse
Classrooms, Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Art + Technology Spaces, Media Center
2019 Preservation Massachusetts, Thomas A. Menino Award
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“We are excited to continue working with the Eliot School, Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston to design innovative, joyful learning environments for Boston’s future leaders!”
- Rebecca Berry, Principal, Finegold Alexander
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The challenge with this project involved the historic main building, once housing a church circa 1823 - and later the North Bennet Street School, was wood construction with ad hoc connections to two adjacent townhomes. None of the floors in the buildings aligned. By completely removing all interior structure we were able to provide seamless floor plates which met modern accessibility and seismic requirements.

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“Through our design, we created a whole out of parts, a sense of arrival, and bright and airy classrooms throughout with clearly defined circulation using color and transparency."
Tony Hsiao, Principal and Director of Design, Finegold Alexander