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Morse Elementary School

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1955, Carl Koch and Associates; 1997–1999, Design Partnership of Cambridge. 40 Granite St.

On a six-acre site bordered by Memorial Drive and a residential street, Morse Elementary School consists of a series of connected classrooms in one-story pavilions, separated according to age groups. Spaces designated for conferences, science, arts, and shops are in a central building, which doubles as a community facility. Marked by a higher roof, a lobby leads to the auditorium, gymnasium, and cafeteria. Skylights over corridors provide natural illumination and overhangs at windows control light levels. Murals animate the hallways: Koch commissioned experimental designs based on natural motifs from Juliet and Gyorgy Kepes, while a 1999 painting by Tomie Arai stresses the diversity of Cambridgeport.

The structure is composed of concrete with modular steel frames for glass and roofs and between brick end walls. On Saturdays, the parking lot becomes a farmers' market. Opposite on Memorial Drive are playing fields and a Metropolitan District Commission swimming pool.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Morse Elementary School", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 296-296.

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