Wilder Architecture, Inc.

Wilder Architecture, Inc.

Tampa, FL


J. Vince Thompson Elementary School

This 90,000sf elementary school was recently built on a 14-acre parcel adjacent to a high school and a future county park to the north. The site was selected for the ability to share existing infrastructure (chilled water/central plant), to develop efficient traffic and parking plans, and most importantly, to conserve natural resources and community green space.

The goal was to develop a cost-effective strategy for the design of highly flexible campus building components that could be repeated in varying configurations on rural or urban infill parcels.  The project was completed for just $115/sf. The parti provides for a number of different scaled outdoor learning spaces, including music, art, and gifted science math classrooms. A solar umbrella helps define a large area outside the cafeteria that also serves as an outdoor gathering space for community events.

The modern campus design embraces the Florida climate with open corridors, bridges, breezeways, and solar umbrella.  Utilizing an updated approach to the traditional Florida finger plan school from the 50s and 60s, the classroom buildings are single loaded with an east west axis to capture daylight through large north facing windows. Covered walkways on the south take advantage of the east west prevailing breezes and shade the southern facades, allowing every classroom to take advantage of natural daylighting. 

An exterior 2-story covered walkway system connects all major classroom, administration, media, and cafeteria circulation components. The walkway serves as the campus "Main Street" and offers a unique space for students to learn informally, queue for programmed activities, and to socialize. Shading features and garden areas also encourage social interaction and learning outside of the traditional classroom. 

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Status: Built
Location: Tampa, FL, US
Firm Role: Architect of Record