Shirley Kirk Elementary School

Houston, Texas

  • FIRM



    Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District

  • AREA

    96,127 sq.ft.



Accommodating the district’s open concept was the most challenging aspect of this school’s design. To accomplish this, the designers placed regular classrooms in groups of four. Each of these classrooms was then divided by demountable wall partitions and fixed casework. Entries to each space have been left open, and every classroom can be accessed from a corridor, as ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONFEATURED IN2002 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYCommon Areas as the other classrooms in their groups. Continuing the open theme, the library is left exposed to the main corridor with a short brick wall to establish its boundary. Complementing the library is an outdoor reading area composed of a tiered, crescent-shaped brick wall where children can sit and read.

The main commons area transitions nicely into the academic area with a portal-type design at the entry to each of the three classroom wings.

Other design elements:

- A dramatic proscenium framing the stage in the cafeteria creates an exciting architectural accent.

- Clerestory windows in the main corridor allow the space to be filled with natural light.

- Exposed trusses in the peak of the main corridor were a cost-effective way to enhance the building’s architectural element.

- The triangular-shaped entrance pavilion, finished with light-blue aluminum panels and stainless-steel column covers, creates a focal point and anchor to the school’s architectural identity.