Dover High School

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Project Narrative

The Dover HS courtyard was a key concept phase design driver that helped guide and ultimately define the site and building organization. Ultimately, the development of the courtyard came about due a very practical site force: an urban block with had elevation change of about 14’ in the north/south direction. The resultant 3-story building is organized around the recessed courtyard, which allows for a “walk-out” configuration of the lower level.

Our multi-disciplinary team then developed a strategy to seamlessly blend the building architecture, interior design and courtyard/landscape design. Assembly-type spaces (gymnasium, dining, library, auditorium) radiate around the courtyard, which is flanked by the main and special-events entries at the middle floor. A high degree of transparency further visually connects these spaces to and through one another.

Flanking social/learning stairs in the dining room bleed through the building envelope, continuing through to the steeped courtyard. During a typical day, the courtyard and immediately adjacent spaces are used for academic instruction, flex space and lunch-period activities.

The spaces, both inside and out, have taken on a life of their own, becoming the figurative heart and soul of the new public high school (which replaced a much-beloved but woefully outdated 1901 building). The spaces have hosted dances and pep rallies; served as overflow event-space for the gymnasium and auditorium; and ultimately as the backdrop for countless public relations photographs and special events.


Project Details

Submission Category

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Date of Completion

August, 2020

Submitting Firm Name


Project Team

Urban Planner

Interior Design: SHP

Landscape Architect

Landscape Architect: SHP


MEP Engineer: KLH

Interior Designer

Structural Engineer: SMBH

Environmental Designer

Civil Engineer: Sands Decker


Hammond Construction