The time spent in elementary school can be viewed as some of the most vital years for development and personal growth in a child’s life. While the teachers are often seen as having the greatest impact in molding a child’s understanding as well as future, the spaces in which these students inhabit daily also plays a pivotal role. To us, the school shouldn’t but viewed as solely a space to house learning, but rather, a space that provokes learning through interaction and through an understanding of the surrounding environment.
Located in a developing area in Seattle, the site was chosen because of the views surrounding it and for the potential to integrate the temperate climate into the design scheme. Focusing on a site that allows for the best interaction between the environment and the structure creates an opportunity for LEED certification points and helps to create bright, comfortable classrooms. Because of smaller-scaled commercial buildings to the south, there is the ability to incorporate southern prevailing winds and unobstructed sun paths that allow the building to function as a tool to teach students about the environment in which they live, learn, and play. Local transit systems such as a trolley, bus routes, and bike lanes are used as safe transportation modes that are also eco friendly.
Included in the design is a rooftop green-space and garden that allows students to see where some of the foods they eat in the cafeteria come from and how native plants and insects interact with one another. Rainwater collection systems allow for students to learn how water can be acquired from nature and then recycled as irrigation and for use in the restrooms.
Local renewable materials will be used and will also help pay tribute to Washington’s large role in the timber industry. Using large timber and steel for the structure the plan remains free of obstructions and enhances the open feeling to the corridors. The classrooms are designed to adapt to any need that the students or teachers might need. Operable partitions between rooms, outdoor spaces, and learning pods are in place to make different environments for the students to learn
Status: School Project
Location: Seattle, WA, US
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Erik Ringsby - classmate