Atlanta Jewish Academy
This project merged two of the oldest Jewish day schools in Atlanta: the Greenfield Hebrew Academy, a primary school, and Yeshiva Atlanta, a high school. Leadership decided a merger could save operation costs between the two campuses. Together, the two schools would form the brand-new Atlanta Jewish Academy (AJA).
Both schools were long-standing institutions in the area, each with a different culture and mission. Our collaboration with AJA helped establish a new school identity and navigate the transformation. We designed a contemporary architectural dialogue to reinforce the school’s new mission, vision and messages, showing the community that AJA combines the best of both schools.
We designed a flexible environment to make connections between the students and the faculty, promoting interaction outside of the traditional instruction space. The beautiful new instructional and gathering areas include a variety of classrooms and laboratories, faculty rooms, a new gymnasium and a beit midrash “House of Learning” (a Jewish study hall). In the beit midrash, the design includes the Etzel Hayim to hold a Sefer Torah, a mechitza to partition the space, and extra storage to keep kippas and shawls.
When merging two unique schools, every element has a symbolic meaning that evokes emotion, including the environment. Our design helped to smooth their transition and ensure the students’ educational experience is one of trust, community, and acceptance. The AJA works as one day school for K-12 students, and it has become an exemplary success story for other mergers.