As a first-of-its-kind combination elementary and middle school for the Dallas district, this new 224,000-square-foot facility houses two schools that will function separately but share a kitchen, central plant and auditorium. Each school has its own private courtyard, allowing for access to separate playing fields. Multi-story components in each school preserve site CAPACITY1,700COST PER SQ FT$102.67FEATURED IN2007 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized for sports fields. The project was produced within a fast-paced design schedule.
The 16.4-acre site is surrounded by multi-family residential and light-commercial buildings. Because many of the students live in this densely populated area, special attention was paid to pedestrian access. The building responds to its urban surroundings by pushing itself out to the streets, helping to define the boundary between pedestrians and vehicles. Creating this “urban edge” at the busy five-corner intersection also helps to establish the school as a catalyst for community improvement.
A multi-story volume, highlighted by a soaring canopy, expresses the entry to the 900-student, 91,000-square-foot Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School and acts as a lantern at night for the community. This entry is set back from the busy street to provide a safe outdoor plaza for students to gather. A central courtyard is accessible from the lobby and is viewed by and contained on three sides by classrooms, the cafeteria and gymnasium. A voluminous two-story commons area, flooded with natural light and containing an open ceremonial stair, acts as a kinetic node for students to gather and circulate.