Madera Elementary School, Addition and Modernization

El Cerrito, California

  • FIRM

    Hamilton + Aitken Architects


    West Contra Costa Unified School District

  • AREA

    37,955 sq.ft.





Key design elements of this project included adding space and eliminating temporary bungalows on the site without taking away from the ample outdoor area, and aligning the new building to take advantage of the site’s natural features. The solution was a two-story addition into the hillside, thereby saving space and orienting the building north to provide optimum natural ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY420COST PER SQ FT$169.00FEATURED IN2004 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress and sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay. The addition includes a computer lab, a community room, a flexible-use breakout classroom, two new classrooms and a library/media center. Its lower-level covered patio acts as an outdoor learning and social space.

All existing classrooms, teacher support and administrative areas are being modernized with an emphasis on updating lighting, computer data, mechanical units, casework and accessible accommodations.

The design stresses daylighting throughout to deinstitutionalize the buildings, and to enhance student and teacher performance. New daylighting controls conserve energy. Classrooms are lighted by large windows shaded by a deep roof overhang and by borrowed light through clerestory windows from skylighted corridors.

The school emphasizes integrating technology into every facet of its curriculum. Each classroom has eight student computers and a separate teacher’s computer, and the computer lab provides for full class participation. The library/media center includes several computer stations for research and catalog use.