Shippensburg Area Intermediate School is designed to increase the interaction among students, architecture and the natural environment. The project site was of primary concern, as the district is required to maintain a four-acre conservation easement between new construction and residential development adjacent to the site. The site design embraced the easement with an CAPACITY700COST PER SQ FT$183.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio center for students, including pathways that lead students through a variety of spatial events.
The easement influenced the building design as well. The building footprint was reduced 30 percent by going to multiple-level design, where the three classroom wings “step” with the site, conforming to the existing landscape. These wings also are oriented on an east-west axis, open to the north with fenestration, taking advantage of diffused northern light. This integration of building, learning spaces and landscape is exemplified by elements such as the learning courtyard, where an exterior courtyard and a mirrored interior concourse provide teachers and students with two unique spaces that are focused on a central tree whose form is mimicked in the concourse’s curved steel beams and metal roof deck.