JCJ Architecture (JCJ), a forward-thinking and nationally ranked planning, architecture, and interior design firm, announced that the Martin Luther King Jr. Campus has been honored with the Award of Merit in the “Interior Architecture” category in the 2022 AIA Connecticut Design Awards. Demonstrating JCJ’s resourceful design approach, the campus provides a next-generation learning environment in an existing building with significant historic features and strong sentimental connections to Hartford’s Blue Hills neighborhood. The jury commended the MLK Campus for the outstanding restoration of the 140,000 square foot original building and how the 34,000 square foot expansion was designed with a sense of simplicity that complemented and didn’t compete with the existing structure.

“Being honored in the AIA Connecticut Design Awards affirms the extensive efforts made by the JCJ team to preserve the character of this remarkable building, while creating a modern and functional learning facility for both the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and Breakthrough Magnet School North,” said Jeffrey K. Elliott, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Principal at JCJ Architecture. “JCJ’s close collaboration with stakeholders resulted in a richly detailed and beautiful school that will continue to serve the City and the Community for years to come.” 

Engaged to provide comprehensive services, JCJ Architecture spearheaded planning and design that combined the existing Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School (Grades 6-8) and Breakthrough Magnet School North (Grades Pre-K-5) into one cohesive campus. Successfully marrying two schools that serve different age ranges required a strategic approach to design, creating separation between the two programs while enabling seamless integration and usage of key shared spaces. JCJ worked closely with Downes Construction, collectively overcoming numerous challenges and delivering the project on an accelerated schedule.

The AIA Connecticut Design Awards is an annual program that acknowledges design excellence as well as merit in projects in Connecticut or by Connecticut architects. Since 1905, AIA Connecticut has served the architectural profession, encouraging innovative design and working to improve society through a concern for the quality of the built and natural environments. In addition to AIA CT, the Martin Luther King Jr. Campus been recognized for excellence by other peer and industry organizations including 2021 CT Trust for Historic Preservation Design Merit Award, a 2021 Connecticut Building Congress Project Team Merit Award and third place in the 2022 Retrofit Metamorphosis Awards.