The historical and physical context of the Silverado Middle School’s joint park district site in Roseville, Calif., presented its students, faculty, community and architect with a unique, collaborative design opportunity. The design benefits students and the community by respecting the aesthetics of the surrounding residential area, as well as by honoring the area’s CAPACITY960COST PER SQ FT$201.24FEATURED IN2001 Architectural Portfolio tradition.
The mining theme served as a catalyst for the imagery and design of the school and will help children to understand the history of their community. The students voiced their opinions by participating in planning committees and by sketching their own design ideas. The unification of the school-park site and the mining aesthetic work to establish a sense of ownership, permanence and pride by granting children of all ages an opportunity to interact informally on a daily basis, within the context of home and school.
The school district’s philosophy that the physical school facility be used as a “three-dimensional textbook” has been reflected in the inclusion of elements of the academic curriculum in the physical design of the building. The staff and the students will be able to use the adjacent thematic courtyards in all areas of their curriculum. Each courtyard has its own mining-related focus, such as a particular mining technique—shaft mining, for instance.
The Division of Mines and Geology, part of California’s Department of Conservation, assisted in establishing a design direction for the display of artifacts. The students can bring their educational experiences to life by applying their knowledge to problem-solving activities, dramatic play, and scientific experimentation in these outdoor, “extended classroom” environments. The environmentally integrated academic programs play an important role in giving children the hands-on experiences that help them learn and recall new knowledge.
This project is a manifestation of the district’s dedication to supporting the educational transition from self-contained primary classrooms to the departmentalized programs offered in comprehensive high schools, as well as recognizing the emotional and psychological changes of adolescence. The architect and district are developing curriculum for the environment’s educational features. Lesson plans will help teachers use the building and surrounding features as a teaching tool.