Washington Technology Magnet Middle School

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Wanting a place where technology engages students and creative learning is visible and celebrated, the district hired the architect to help bridge the gap between a 1924 masonry building cluttered by numerous additions and remodelings, and a technology-focused curriculum.

The design infused technology throughout the building and created a three-story “heart of ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY730COST PER SQ FT$129.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation school” Technology Gallery addition. The technology-inspired interior is a novel and energizing contrast to the traditional exterior and much of the remaining interior. Daylighted and alive with student interaction, the dramatic space has a cyber cafe feel and serves as a gathering space and organizing source. Students interact in casual settings within the atrium and in more formal settings in adjacent project lab spaces. Teacher resource areas are organized to view the atrium and enable observation of common spaces. The openness and visibility enhance safety and security.

Challenges included the existing materials palette limiting some design options; 10 different levels created by years of renovations needing to be bridged to clarify and enhance movement, accessibility and security; and notably, the school’s need to remain in operation during construction.