The Alexander Dawson Foundation wanted a school where students could “experience the campus…not just the class at the end of the hall.” Architectural structures inside and outside the classroom abound with nontraditional geometric shapes, allowing teachers to use the school as an object lesson in science, mathematics, art and history.
The 33-acre site is at the base CAPACITY750COST PER SQ FT$172.13CITATIONElementary School CitationFEATURED IN2001 Architectural Portfolio Rainbow Mountain. The foundation wanted each campus within the campus to stand alone, with separate administration, faculty and staff for age-appropriate learning. The four main buildings—the lower school, middle school, shared-spaces building and gymnasium—achieve this goal. Each building is inspired by natural forms, and carefully scaled to nurture students. All classrooms have soaring ceilings and large windows that view the Demonstration Gardens located throughout the campus.
The surrounding environment is brought into the school in every detail. A periscope system of mirrors, modeled after Da Vinci, brings views of the mountains into the corridors, creating a sense of being open to the majestic mountains outside. Even the tile and stonework patterns are designed to represent the natural colors, shapes and forms of the desert ecosystems.
"The colors are wonderful. The project is very successful in meeting its goal of creating a special place."--2001 jury