The school provides a design that buffers seventh graders, students at the “turning point” of their lives, from the stress and fragmentation associated with the typical large junior high school experience.
The solution arranges the classrooms into three grade-level-specific, double-lobed academic learning centers, surrounding (but connected through CAPACITY1,250COST PER SQ FT$95.39CITATIONMiddle School CitationFEATURED IN2004 Architectural Portfolio fenestration) a lively central collaboration space. These “houses” provide a flexible, open and visible environment for group collaboration that fosters relationships among students and teachers. Conference rooms and faculty planning offices, toilet rooms and lockers make up a “house,” promoting a cohesive environment in which students can live and learn.
Etched on the glass curtainwall at the building entrance, visitors read “welcome” messages in multiple languages. The curved bridge that connects the upper-level wings bears the Fibonacci series and the numbers of Pi. Outside in the courtyard, students are exposed to the “three types of rocks” and the three types of angles, and have the opportunity to study native plant life.
The jewel of the complex is a “glass box” that provides a striking setting for occupants to gather, eat, socialize, and watch performances and presentations. Sustainable technologies include the building cooling plant, “off the grid” windmill power, and access to the building electrical meter, which allows students to observe daily usage.
"Nice clear plan. Strong, inventive image and organization for middle school `exploration`"--2004 jury