Orenco Elementary School

Hillsboro, Oregon

  • FIRM

    Mahlum Architects, Inc.


    Hillsboro School District 1J

  • AREA

    70,000 sq.ft.





Orenco Elementary is a school for 600 students on a gently sloping, 13-acre site. Situated in a historic district and bounded by established residential streets, the buiding employs a richness of natural materials and an attention to detail to create an inviting learning environment in harmony with its surroundings.

The school is zoned into three distinct ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY600COST PER SQ FT$152.00FEATURED IN2002 Architectural Portfolio masses: the two-story classroom wing, administration/media center, and the gymnasium and cafeteria. The administration and the media center are at the core of the school, allowing secure lockdown of the classroom wing during after-hours activities. The classroom wing contains the academic functions and flexible activity areas. The gymnasium and cafeteria face the administration zone and students enter them by way of the main corridor—a high ceiling space rich with detail.

Natural light was a key organizational element that aided in determining building position. The classroom wing took advantage of simple daylighting techniques through an east-west orientation. High windows in individual classrooms provide additional daylighting while minimizing student distractions. The gymnasium, library and multipurpose room also use daylight to reduce energy costs and create an inviting, positive environment for learning.