Luke Stearns

Luke Stearns

Annapolis, MD


Blacksburg Middle School

At the core of this masters thesis proposal is the notion of centrality.  The physical center of the school is also the social and circulatory center of the school.  This three-story atrium space faces both of the entrances, both of the classroom wings, the Gymnasium, the Library, and the Music room.  Every student and teacher passes through the space multiple times throughout the day.  It serves as a gathering space to accommodate the entire student body. 


A broad stair case rises from the middle of the first floor up to the third, with double-sized stairs providing assembly seating. Large clerestory windows running the length of the atrium provide ample natural light, and an opportunity to track the sun throughout the day.

Two classroom wings are composed of modular classroom structures with higher ceilings and double size classrooms for science labs and art classes. Between classroom modules, full height windows allow natural light to extend into the hallways, while operable windows adorn every classroom.  Additionally, structural columns are celebrated and differentiated between classroom types, offering not only a surface to catch light and a place to hang classroom materials, but also an homage to structure.

The school faces the town's main street in a currently vacant lot, an easy walk for many of the students, contrary to the current school that is far on the outskirts of town.


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Status: School Project
Location: Blacksburg, Virginia