Helen Keller Elementary School

Kirkland, Washington

  • FIRM

    BLRB Architects


    Lake Washington School District

  • AREA

    56,530 sq.ft.





Through its design and pedagogy, Helen Keller Elementary School seeks to instill its 320 K-5 students with Helen Keller’s voracity for learning and curiosity with the world. Tactile artwork, sign language graphics and oversized Braille dots encourage students to be inquisitive and thoughtful citizens. Keller’s inspirational quotes flank students’ paths ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY550COST PER SQ FT$304.52CITATIONWilliam W. Caudill CitationFEATURED IN2013 Architectural Portfolio four different learning communities, each with identifying themes that reflect the school’s mission and its namesake’s character: growth, respect, integrity and perseverance.

Creative phasing was used to construct the replacement school adjacent to the existing school, and the design needed to adhere to a strict 35-foot height restriction. Extensive glazing and skylights provide plentiful natural light into learning and common spaces; wireless technology and movable partitions give teachers flexibility. 

Responsive environmental solutions, including a high-performance building envelope system, mechanical heat-recovery systems and site preservation strategies create a healthful, vibrant place for children to learn.

The result is a warm and welcoming building that provides cheerful human scale, and invites students and the neighborhood to share its community “living room.”

“Great integration of concept into the overall plan. The small learning communities function well.”--2013 jury