Upper Arlington School District
Nestled among an array of eclectic 20th Century Revival homes in Columbus’ historic Upper Arlington suburb, the newly renovated school merges the past with the future.
The design unifies the original 1939 building with an addition that is both contemporary and contextually sensitive. The school’s original two-story, English-Revival style building underwent several expansions to accommodate its growing student body. Undersized and overused, the ad-hoc additions resulted in a spatially disjointed school that prevented experiential and collaborative learning.
Rather than continue the campus’ sprawling footprint with another linear wing, Moody Nolan designed a new structure to provide the necessary program while connecting the campus back to itself. Situated behind the original building, the two-story addition exhibits restraint, allowing the historic limestone-clad façade to retain its prominence while creating a protected courtyard for recreation and outdoor learning.
Adapting for Next-Generation Learning
The 25,000 square-foot expansion accommodates four new learning neighborhoods connected to a central light-filled media center. Each learning neighborhood features six classrooms organized around a shared commons – providing space for group activities and individual instruction.
Renovations prioritize teacher and staff well-being through reconfigured and expanded programming to support autonomy without forgoing connectivity. These dedicated zones provide optimal workspaces for daily facility operations, including expanded administration offices, teachers’ lounges, food services, and fine arts classrooms.
Merging the past with future
With brick cladding above a limestone base, the application of new materials follows a similar design language as the existing building by including classical touches. Large expanses of glazing are used to engage students and staff with the historic building and reinforce the dialogue between the past and present.