The Kathleen Allen Lower School houses 280 students in grades K to 4. It completes the second phase of a campus transformation that began in 1998. During Phase I, a new "meadow" quadrangle, Akin Common, was created. The new C-shaped lower school building creates a protected south-facing play court overlooking CAPACITY280COST PER SQ FT$303.00CITATIONElementary School CitationFEATURED IN2009 Architectural Portfolio Common.
The principal organizing element of the two-story building is a single-loaded corridor facing south and east on each floor. The classrooms are arranged by grade level on the north side of the corridor. The corridors contain child-sized lockers, display boards and built-in-alcoves. The building’s scale, furnishings and mood are child-friendly. Patterned tiles on the facades surrounding the playground tell stories; interior floor tile patterns enhance children’s games.
The building conserves energy in passive ways. Because the corridor windows are operable, cross-ventilation is promoted through the north-facing classroom windows; the classrooms are cooled with ceiling fans in warmer weather. In the colder months, the south-facing corridors collect solar energy in tile-covered concrete floor slabs and release their heat to supplement radiant ceiling panels.
"A nice regional approach that blends well with adjacent campus buildings. Passive sustainable features are sensible and integrated well into the building. The scale is appropriate for students."--2009 jury