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designing schools with students in mind


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Contents: Ron Clark Academy - USA Urban Studio

10 18

St Bede’s College - Australia Kneeler Design


Bird Rock Elementary School - USA Zagrodnik + Thomas

Orestad College - Denmark 3XN

Gilroy High school - USA Kasavan

Tangen Polytechnic - Norway 3XN

NYC Centre for Space Science Education - USA Omni Architects

32 28 46 54

Hazelwood School - UK Alan Dunlop Architects


Sir Francis Drake High School - USA Deems Lewis McKinley Architects


Williamstown High school - Australia Spowers

76 84

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts - USA Ennead

Yajima Kindergarten - Japan SUDA Shirokane Kindergarten - Japan SUDA

92 98

Harper Woods Middle / High School - USA World Architects and Engineers

Westview Elementary School - USA Partners in Architecture, P.L.C.

102 108













Designing schools with students in mind

Many factors go into designing successful schools. Of these, no single factor is more important than considering the building’s primary occupants: students. Student Spaces explores schools from all over the world that incorporate areas that students find both beneficial and enjoyable. While books have long featured school designs that provide commentary by adults, this book provides comments from students who have utilized the spaces and enjoyed the benefits first-hand. Having spent over twenty five years designing K-12 schools, I am excited about the examples we have put together. Probably the most common response I have received from those that have seen a draft of this book is “Why didn’t I get to go to a school like that?” I trust this book will help elevate the quality of school design around the world and in the future more people will say, “Oh, I went to a school like that!”

Joel K. Sims, AIA Founder/President


designer: project:

Urban Studio

Ron Clark Academy


Atlanta (GA), USA

Type of school: private nonprofit middle school Type of project: adaptive reuse Gross surface area: 340 m2 (3,664 ft2) Year of completion: 2009 No. Of students: 100

Right: The library’s bungee trampoline photo: Duane Stork

Bungee Trampoline


ith the entire campus as an adaptive reuse of a warehouse site, the library of the Ron Clark Academy once housed the facility’s offices. In the library, a bungee trampoline is part of a reward system for academic excellence. For meeting goals, a student gains the privilege to jump and reach the sky while surrounded by cheering classmates and teachers. The design challenge was to integrate this activity elegantly within a functional library. A casual radial surround seating element accompanied by four curved moveable reading tables approachable from either side serves the ground floor of the library. The centric arrangement allows for im-


promptu use from surrounding areas of the first floor stacks, circulation desk, or cafe and allows groups to convene in a central location. Curved steps, integrated with the desk, lead students to the trampoline. The custom designed bungee system rigging is structurally integrated into the 2nd floor railing system. As a part of the library conversion, the large opening was cut in the floor to accommodate the bungee system, as well as to provide height and openness within the space. Above the trampoline, two skylights open to the sky. Custom railing panels with the Ron Clark Academy’s own students jumping into the sky and murals by graffiti artist, Mr. Totem complete the illusion of fantasy and sky.


Left: In the Ron Clark Academy’s library, the sky is the limit. photo: Duane Stork

Kennedy student


The trampoline makes me feel victorious. Only very few people can get on the trampoline, you have to earn it! Every time, I jump on the trampoline it makes me feel like I can do anything!

Rashad student

The trampoline in the library is a symbol of uniqueness; most schools don’t have a trampoline in their yard or even a library. But, I enjoy seeing our visitors use it. I get the opportunity to meet educators from around the world; it also serves as a gateway for me to meet new people.

When i was on the trampoline‌ I felt like i was at a carnival. It was so much fun and I don’t know of any other school to have a trampoline indoors! And for that, I feel so privileged and blessed to be part of the Ron Clark Academy.

Darius student


Right The view of the Secret Door when closed...

Secret door

photo: Kortni Alston-Clarke


nspired by the mysterious hidden doors and passageways found in the Scooby Doo cartoons, the entrance door to Mr. Clark’s classroom lies behind rotating bookshelves in a functioning library. Furnished with a fireplace, wood paneling and a velvet sofa, the evocation of a haunted mansion is completed with the turn of a sconce which reveals the classroom. This is just one of many surprises encountered while walking through the Ron Clark Academy classroom building. Just down the hall from an electric blue corkscrew slide, students are transported into a completely different environment when entering the library. The custom woodwork was crafted by a local artisan, and other elements are a mix of reclaimed treasures. A perfectly suited yard sale chandelier completes the room. The main challenges to the project were life-safety and technical. An alternate means of egress was accomplished via a side corridor that empties into the main corridor beyond the library area, leaving no clues to the hidden room at the end of the hall.


...and when it is open photo: Duane Stork


First time I saw Mr. Clark’s secret door was during my interview to become part of the Ron Clark Academy, it felt more than just a school – it made me feel carefree and intrigued. I haven’t seen anything like that except for when I have watched Scooby Doo. The secret door is a passage way to my future.

Darius student

I still remember the first time I saw the secret door. It was like going into a different world. I always feel like I am going into a magical world every time it opens.

Rashad student

Kennedy student

I remember the first time I saw the secret door. I was curious about what it was and I wanted to know where it would lead and what is behind it‌. For me, it represents taking chances and being adventurous.


Kneeler Design


St. Bede’s College


Mentone, Victoria, Australia

Type of school: secondary college Type of project: addition of a passive recreational area Gross surface area: 200 m2 (2,150 ft2) Year of completion: 2006 No. of students: 1330

Right: Canopies shade recreational areas and divert water into the waterbox photo: Silvi Glattauer


St. Bede’s College faced the challenge of residual space. The area between the gymnasium, workshops and computer laboratories was too small for sports or development, and students had created a dirt trail as a shortcut between buildings. The school envisioned an outdoor learning space that could also be used after hours, and engaged Kneeler Architects. A series of meetings were held, and a solution began to conceptualize. The space would need a variety of learning settings that also allowed for informal gatherings. The aboriginal concept of corroboree must be included


for displays and performances, as well as a long desired barbeque area. Environmental factors such as runoff and shading were a concern. Finally, a large outdoor chess table using oversized pieces would be constructed for the chess team and for recreational use. From these meetings, a solution was formed that recognizes the student’s real need for physical activity, fresh air and sunshine, and accommodates those who learn best through engaging with the tactile world. The driving concept was a balance


of formal and casual spaces. The formal elements of the solution break the ground plane into horizontal hardscapes for different uses. Some areas contain the carefully arranged seating of a classroom, while others are informal dugouts with nonprescriptive seating for gatherings or group work. The school’s environmental concerns were met with rain gardens and lily ponds which

Below: Wooden tables in the lunch area photo: Silvi Glattauer


serve as filters for the school’s aquifer and well. As plantings mature they blend with the existing structures inspired by the foliage, ensuring shade for the site. The project has provided the St. Bede’s College campus with a special and rejuvenated space by transforming a muddy and unremarkable thoroughfare into an area used in unique and diverse ways by all members of the school community.

Below: A waterbox photo: Silvi Glattauer


Below: Chess boards used by the all boy campus’ chess clubs photo: Silvi Glattauer



…Since it’s completion, the area has attracted a great deal of use and engaged people’s attention. Not being in the shape of any building and having steel members which have no discernable use, it takes observers beyond the practical to the artistic and aesthetic. …All of the college’s goals in the brief have been exceeded and the area will stand for a long time as a pointer to nature and as a complement to the efficient, practical school buildings

Br. Garry Coyte Principal of St. Bede’s College

Left: The area provides a variety of spaces for the all boy campus photo: Silvi Glattauer

designer: project:

Zagrodnik + Thomas Architects

Bird Rock Elementary School


Birdrock (CA), USA

Type of school: K-5 Type of project: campus modernization with new library Gross surface area: 3,100 m2 (33,330 ft2) Year of completion: 2003-2010 No. of students: 475

Next Page: The tile mural playfully surrounds one of the porthole windows Below: Mosaic sea scene photo: Sally Steadman


etsy Schulz worked with parents and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) members from Bird Rock Elementary to carry on the graduation class tradition of presenting a mural to the school. Mosaic pieces were fastened to a mesh, which was then applied to the new library wall. The students pressed quotes and words into the tiles to celebrate reading. The lines of the tiles represent the ocean waves, and the sand and rocks underneath. The project was funded by the PTA members and private donors and cost about $5200 for design labor and materials and took one month to complete. The library was built with a sea motif. In order to enhance the wavy line of the blue stucco Betsy Schulz designed three colored lines of tile. The top line repre-


sents the ocean waves, the center white line, the sand, and the reddish bottom line, the rocks of the ocean floor. The students pressed quotes and words into the clay to create tiles that celebrate the reading opportunities the library offers. The rugged shoreline of Birdrock overlooks reefs and is home to an abundance of sealife including numerous birds that perch and nest on the rocky outcroppings. Zagrodnik + Thomas Architects incorporated this ocean theme into the design of a new library for the Bird Rock Elementary campus, incorporating a blue-green cementitous “wave” wainscot and playful “porthole” windows at various heights.


Above: The class of 2010 added this inspired compass photo: Sally Steadman


Left: A starfish bench photo: Sally Steadman

Below: Bench inspired by a surfboard on a pebbly beach photo: Sally Steadman


It makes the school a lot more decorative. It was fun making the mosaic because we each got to do different designs and use different stamps.

Ana 5th grade

We all contributed a little bit but when we put it together it makes something big.

Josie 5th grade

Raul 5th grade

Sage 5th grade

It gives our school character, because the kids decorated the school themselves.

They really make the school a nicer place to be.

Right: Fifth grade students helped make and install the tiles under the guidance of the artist. photo: Betsy Shultz

I liked helping create a cool look on the library wall. We learned a lot from the artist and it was a fun team project.

They make our school different and special. Each mosaic means something.

Nicole 5th grade

Jonathan 5th grade

designer: project:


Orestad College


Copenhagen, Denmark

Type of school: upper secondary school Type of project: new construction Gross surface area: 12,000 m2 (130,000 ft2) Year of completion: 2007 No. of students: 1100


erving students ages 16-19, Orestad College is the first Danish high school to embody new standards of content, subject matter, organization and learning systems mandated through educational system reforms. The goal of the project was to assist the school in guiding students as they gradually take responsibility for their education through individual and group learning, while introducing IT as a main learning tool. The building’s openness provides flexibility, as

the space can adapt to individuals, small groups, regular classes and assemblies. Horizontal and vertical connectedness lend to the interaction and communication needed to meet this goal. The powerful form of the superstructure is created through four rotated boomerang shaped floors. This rotation then opens a part of each floor to the central atrium, providing a zone for community and interdisciplinary education.

Right: Lounge pod photo: Adam Mørk



Above: Overview of the main staircase photo: Adam Mørk


Below: Lounge pods and computer space photo: Adam Mørk


Martine student

Front side - Main entrance of the building photo: Adam Mørk


Like the eye of a hurricane, this space seems to draw students to the banisters on all four floors. They need to relax from constant focusing, and just to stand there looking at nothing in particular, perhaps wave at a friend or two. The attraction of this place is difficult to explain, perhaps it’s the letting go, the chance to look at something else; perhaps it’s the relaxed knowledge that here’s a view you can relate to, or the feeling of community. One thing is certain, over and beyond the parties in the canteen that bind us together – both within and across age groups – the college’s openness certainly plays an important part in making us one community. You can easily feel you’re in one large, confusing jungle – but then on the other hand, you never feel you’re off limits as the building and its facilities are common ground to us all – this is very important.


designer: project:


Gilroy High School


Gilroy (CA), USA

Type of school: high school Type of project: additions and alterations Gross surface area: 5100 m2 (55,293 ft2) Year of completion: 2006 No. of students: 2000

Right: NanaWall Bi-fold doors provide a unified indoor and outdoor dining hall photo: Brett Drury

C t

harged with designing a monumental building on the campus of Gilroy High School, Kasavan Architects used distinct materials to create a sense of transparency between the interior and exterior. Where structural elements pass through tWhere structural elements pass through the glazed wall, glass is intentionally located under the member to show that it does not carry the roof load. Wide openings in the glazed wall create efficient access. The building is directly adjacent to the old food service facility where the entire student body congregated. The glazed “prow” of the dining hall reaches into the central campus quad. The roof is sup-


ported by a “grove of columns” referencing the actual grove of trees in the courtyard immediately beyond the adjacent patio. Gilroy often reaches temperatures over 100 degrees during periods of the school year, and the large overhanging roof extends the shading from the trees into covered patios. With a student body of over 2,000, the challenge was to provide all students access to the campus Food Court and Dining Room in just one lunch hour. The NanaWall doors successfully allow access in a comfortable and efficient manner.


Right: The prow of the Student Center highlights the NanaWall photo: Brett Drury




Left: Interior - Grove of Columns with NanaWall in in the background photo: Brett Drury


The Student Center building has helped me find guidance through high school and has given the counselors a more comfortable and safe space to discuss education with their students. The Student Center is open and easy to find, it is definitely a useful building to have on our campus.

Samantha student

The Student Center is a central location where students can find help and assistance. Having the academic coordinators, registrar and counseling staff located together next door to the student activities office has made it much easier to register for classes. The new expansive eating areas, inside and out, are a great place to go when it is raining or when it is too hot in the sun!

Devanity student

designer: project:


Tangen Polytechnic


Kristiansand, Norway

Type of school: polytechnic Type of project: new construction Gross surface area: 17,300 m2 (186,215 ft2) Year of completion: 2009 No. of students: 950

Right: Connecting floors across the atrium photo: Adam Mørk


ituated just south of Kristiansand’s renaissance quarter, Tangen Polytechnic is presented with a beautiful view of the Otra River. Combining the once separated schools of hotel management, design, media, communication and construction, the new school encourages students to connect with and benefit from other disciplines. A plait forms the simple design strategy for the structure. Two sets of double stories weave together, forming a central area of

single stories. The two storied areas are used for workshop activities, while the single story classrooms house academics. A circular atrium connects all floors through the center of the building. The braided sides handle the bending of the site, and parabolic window openings provide a view of the school’s activities from the street.

Right: The large circular atrium photo: Adam Mørk



Right: The Tangen on the Otra River photo: Adam Mørk



Above: The canteen area photo: Adam Mørk 50

Above: Mezzanine overlooking canteen area photo: Adam Mørk 51

The space is so open and light. It makes us feel free and awake during the school day.

The large windows provide a beautiful view of the Otera river.

Vilde student

Stian student

Ingvild student

The open space makes it easy to socialize with other students.

In this school it is easy to keep up the contact with friends.

Below: The Tangen at dusk photo: Adam Mørk

Rebekka student

designer: project:

Omni Architects

NYC Center for Space Science Education


New York City (NY), USA

Type of school: science resource center for 2nd-12th graders Type of project: interior renovation Gross surface area: 480 m2 (5,220 ft2) Year of completion: 2010 No. of students: 4000


orking together to promote space science education for K-12 students, four large private organizations and government bodies transformed three classrooms into an innovative educational space at PS 56 in Manhattan. An entry corridor transfers students into a Briefing Room, where students receive basic instructions and are divided into two groups. Those in the Mission Control Room command those in the Space Shuttle Simulation Room as they collect and analyze samples from their travels through space. Students then reverse roles, travelling between the rooms through a star filled black revolving door. Engaging students in activities that simulate space travel, the school hopes to expose students to new possibilities and reinforce that big dreams are attainable through hard work and dedication.


Below: Mission Control Room photo: Lazar Kesic, OMNI Architects



Left: Boarding the Space Shuttle photo: Lazar Kesic, OMNI Architects


The space center is like stepping into another world!

12th Grader


I felt like I was really in space and working for NASA.

I was a communications officer and we launched a probe to Halley’s Comet. I would love to become a communications officer when I grow up. It was very interesting.

9th Grader 6th Grader

4th Grader

I liked it when there was an emergency, because we solved the problem and I was proud of myself.


designer: project:

Alan Dunlop Architects

Hazelwood School


Dumbreck, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Type of school: special needs - dual sensory impaired Type of project: new construction Gross surface area: 2,666 m2 (28,700 ft2) Year of completion: 2007 No. of students: 54


azelwood School is designed for children and young people aged 2 to 17 who are blind and deaf with cognitive impairment and physical disabilities. Together they are some of the


most severely disabled children in Scotland. The children and young people who attend the school will never be able to lead totally independent lives and will require lifetime support.

Below: Outside view of the school; Interacting with the landscape is an essential part of the students’ development photo: Andrew Lee

The school is situated within a strong residential and conservation area to the south of Glasgow and aims to develop pupil’s independence through a highly individualised, multi-sensory curriculum. The smallest features of the building are conceived as learning aids. The building wraps around mature beech trees and nestles to one side of a large public park. Classrooms lay along the northern quiet edge of the site to maximize ambient light and overlook verdant play

spaces. To the south, the school steps and curves to create a series of safe and stimulating landscaped teaching gardens. Access to these outside spaces is integral to the teaching practice of the school. The sensory experiences such as breathing fresh air, hearing the wind rustling the trees and feeling the rain are critical parts of the pupil’s education. Clerestory glazing forms a substantial part of the façade of the north-facing classrooms, allowing for maximum daylight to penetrate deep into the spaces and ensuring even distribution of light. Large storage


designer: project: facts:

boxes create a solid wall below the clerestory glazing; this reduces external visual distraction, highlighted by teaching staff as a significant cause of loss of concentration levels in some visually impaired students. The ability to use toilet facilities unaided offers dignity to the pupils. The location, type, size and fittings of the sanitary facilities have been carefully selected to help educated the students in the variety of toilet types they are likely to come into contact with. Ease of orientation within the school is essential to developing the student’s independence. In response to this, a sensory wall was developed in the circulation “street” as a navigational tool that would allow the children to move around the


school safely. Sculptural units that make up the sensory wall also act as storage units in which mobility-training equipment is kept. The wall is clad in cork, which has a warm tactile quality and provides signifiers along the route to confirm the children’s location within the school. Each one of the external materials was selected for their sensory qualities. The natural larch weatherboarding develops a strong grain when exposed to the elements, offering a gently rippled tactile quality for ‘trailing’ (navigation using the sense of touch). In contrast, roofing slate hung vertically as cladding is noticeably harder to the touch. The slate walls define external spaces and have the advantage on the south elevations of being a strong heat source, providing another trailing tool for students.

designer: project: facts:

Above and right: Main circulation space, sensory and storage wall photo: Andrew Lee

Next page: Cafeteria photo: Andrew Lee and Keith Hunter




Right: Aerial view of the school and gardens photo: Andrew Lee and Keith Hunter



Below: Aerial View of School Design Drawing by Alan Dunlop


When our children leave this school, they will not go into jobs or go and live in their own flat or house- they will always need to be supported. Adults who are blind and have learning difficulties can lead passive lives. But the more independence they have, the more choices they will be able to make and the more stimulating their lives will be. One young person, the most cognitively challenged person I’ve ever met, can now go and eat and go to the toilet by himself. For the rest of his life his dignity will be maintained.

Monica McGeever Hazelwood School Headteacher


designer: project:

Deems Lewis McKinley

Sir Francis Drake High School


San Anselmo (CA), USA

Type of school: high school Type of project: renovation Gross surface area: 370 m2 (4,000 ft2) Year of completion: 2005 No. of students: 1100

Right: NanaWall adds flexibility to the Student Center’s cafeteria photo: James Patton & Saxon Holt


he original Student Center was contained by a concrete courtyard and grey eight-foot-high concrete walls that obscured a dramatic view of Mt. Tamalpais and the greenery of the adjacent athletic fields. Removing the oppressive wall, the facility was expand as a “glass box” of NanaWall opening window walls with a gathering place that feels much larger than its 4,000 square feet. The Student Center is now a vibrant and spacious environment for both student and community gatherings. The newfound views of the mountain and the athletic fields fuel continual demand for the facility during school time, after hours, and weekend functions. Low-E glass was utilized in the replacement window wall along with new insulated


wall panels. The original ceiling insulation was supplemented with additional insulation. The original tall ceiling was left in place above the new ceiling, providing doublecavity exterior insulation. Sir Francis Drake High School was awarded a ‘Green School’ designation by the County of Marin for its physical and operational sensitivities to environmental issues. The Student Commons/Cafeteria Expansion received a Design Award from the Coalition for Adequate Housing. The reinvigorated Drake High School now reflects the energy and quality of its staff and students.


Above: NanaWall allows a view without a glare photo: James Patton & Saxon Holt

Right: The glass box with a view is a vast improvement over the previous concrete walls photo: James Patton & Saxon Holt



Richard student

Andre student

The Student Center is an open and inviting place that has many uses. It is very welcoming and spacious.

Sofia student

Above: The beautiful view is even close when the NanaWall is open. photo: James Patton & Saxon Holt

The Student Center building is a great place for classes or programs to gather for presentations or projects. It is a very open and inviting place and it enables students/faculty to move easily between indoor and outdoor activities. In my opinion, the Student Center building is an essential part of our learning experience.

The Student Center building has made a lot of things easier throughout my high school career. When there is a make up exam I know exactly where I need to be, or when a Power Point presentation is given, the spaciousness makes it a good learning and listening environment. It is also a nice meeting spot for all grades because it is an equal distance for each of the corridors. It is both beautiful and useful to have on campus.

designer: project:


Williamstown High School


Williamstown, Victoria, Australia

Type of school: public high school for middle years Type of project; new construction Gross surface area: 5300 m2 (57,000 ft2) Year of completion: 2008 No. of students: 750

Right: The atrium is designed for flexible use- it can be a transitional or exhibition space photo: Dianna Snape



riginally intending to flow a rocky river through Williamstown High School’s atrium as an extension of the adjacent Port Phillip Bay, the architects refined the idea to a stream of students flowing through the building. Using warm materials such as timber and potted trees, the final scheme continues the idea of a journey through the site.

was imperative. In lieu of air conditioning, louvered clerestory windows ventilate warm air during the summer. The wood floor was recycled from the previous demolished school, and serves as a connection to the site’s history.

The multi-purpose atrium serves as the school’s primary space, and functions as foyer, auditorium, display and circulation space. This versatile space can accommodate both small conversations and 250 students exiting the library at once. Maximizing natural light in the school’s interior

Each end of the atrium is glazed with double doors providing a cross flow of sea breezes through the space. The atrium’s structure is exposed, engaging the students in their built environment. The use of local wood species is highlighted with bold colors to create a tactile and vibrant space.


Above: Recycled hardwood flooring and natural timber interact with bold colors photo: Dianna Snape 78

Above: The atrium is the hub of the school photo: Dianna Snape 79


Above: The complex links the surrounding Jawbone Conservation Reserve on the bay side with Hobson Bay City through transitional zones that respect natural formations illustration: Spowers Architects 81

Below: The atrium is oriented for maximum cross ventilation, creating a protected outdoor space between buildings photo: Dianna Snape

We requested a naturally lit and ventilated building and they have created a wonderful sense of light and space. It is a building which is highly responsive to its natural setting with high level louvres and thermal chimneys allowing sea breezes to flow through the building through the heat of summer.

Mr Steven Cook Principal of Williamston College

designer: project:


Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts


Astoria, New York City (NY), USA

Type of school: public high school Type of project: new construction Gross surface area: 113,600 m2 (147,000 ft2) Year of completion: 2007 No. of students: 1000

Right: Frank Sinatra School of the Arts nighttime view


he Frank Sinatra School of the Arts is a new public high school. The design connects the school visually, programmatically and spatially with the surrounding community while drawing students and teachers together in pursuit of the arts. The transparency of the building’s primary façade showcases the studio and rehearsal spaces within, displaying the school’s arts curriculum. Names of various luminaries in the arts are silkscreened onto the glazing, creating an inspiring façade that filters the natural light. The structure’s openness is a welcoming presence in the urban context and celebrates the vibrant arts community within. The scale and pattern of the structure connect the 1000-student school with the dense, low-rise neighborhood in Astoria, Queens. The compact site necessitated a vertical organization: spaces are composed around a five-story atrium which provides a single


photo: ©Jeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects

point of reference. This space provides critical daylight to the dance, music, art studios on the upper floors, and links them to the 800 seat Tony Bennett Concert Hall. This vivid yellow curvilinear form extends through the building to penetrate the rooftop courtyard and performance areas. In addition to this performance space, the atrium allows social interaction and the display of student work. The centrality of this multi-use space underscores the school’s mission: to engage and explore the arts. The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts is a striking building and educational resource that celebrates the arts, providing students with spaces that are unexpected in NYC public schools.


Above: Entry lobby at street level & atrium view looking upward photo: ŠJeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects 86

Left: Dance studio photo: ŠJeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects

Left: Auditorium hall and theater photo: ŠJeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects


Above: Rooftop terrace performance space photo: ŠJeff Goldberg/Esto for Ennead Architects 88

Left: Building plan image: Ennead Architects

Above: Building section image: Ennead Architects 89

I think the architecture of our school helps the students feel more positive, outgoing and welcomed than most other schools because of the vibrant colors and designs. It’s not monochromatic and repetitive like other public schools.

Maybelle student

Willa student

I think that the spacious, geometric and sprawling architecture produces a creative environment. When I walk about, I am interested and inspired.

Years after i leave FSSA, I will be glad to say that I went to school in such a unique building. I feel that other students aren’t as lucky as we are to go to this artfully designed school building.

Isaiah student

designer: project:

Suda Architects

Yajima Kindergarten


Yokohama, Japan

Type of school: kindergarten Type of project: addition Gross surface area: 150 m2 (1,615 ft2) Year of completion: 2009 No. of students: 240


ajima Kindergarten playfully creates a child-scaled environment by subtly manipulating the building so that walls, floors and ceiling become like furniture just as the built in furniture assumes an architectural role. The friendly environment allows children to use all their senses in physical encounters with the architecture. The floor becomes stepped; the wall becomes a blackboard, or a place with nooks and crannies in which to hide; columns and frames become benches, shelves and platforms. The touch, transparency, and plasticity of water is an everlasting wonder for children. The water zone connected to an indoor play zone is a favorite place for students. The small water fall and pond in the openair square stimulate their imagination and induce various creative games. In the kindergarten, children learn through their daily activities and search for their identities in social life. In the building, their encounter with the architecture begins with


touching. The architecture, furniture and toys fit the scale of children, and the children unknowingly begin to feel the architecture through the physical contact. The floor gradually transforms, rain water flows, the walls have uneven surfaces fit for hide and seek, and the pillars and benches become ledges for the seasonal decorations such as flowers. It is important for children to have the freedom of transformation. In this kindergarten, the goal is to not be too focused on creating toys, but to create an environment where architecture and toys merge. There is no roof over the stair and small water, so the elements of rain, wind, sunlight, and warmth are felt indoors. Therefore, children’s sense and play style changes according to the season and weather. Some play occurs alone, and at other times in groups. Through play with friends, children learn to handle various situations including teaching others, suppressing selfishness, and respecting each other.

Below: The cubicle grid provides a framework for imagination photo: SUDA Architects


Right: A transparent roof provides gradual transition between the building and playground. photo: SUDA Architects



It’s fun to look from above!

I like going up and down. Boy, 5 yrs old

Boy, 3 yrs old Below: Children engaging with the cublicle grid photo: SUDA Architects

I was hiding alone. Boy, 4 yrs old

I like playing chase! Girl, 5 yrs old

I like to sit and chat. Girl, 4 yrs old

I’m still afraid to go up. Boy, 3 yrs old

designer: project:

Suda Architects

Shirokane Kindergarten


Tokyo, Japan

Type of school: kindergarten Type of project: new construction Gross surface area: 797 m2 (8,578 ft2) Year of completion: 2001 No. of students: 165


rchitectural elements such as wall, floors and ceilings gradually become more furniture-like, and built-in furniture gradually becomes more architectonic. As a result, the scale of the environment is friendly and children unconsciously begin to use all their senses in physical encounters with the architecture. The floor becomes stepped; the wall becomes a blackboard, or a place with nooks and crannies in which to hide; columns and frames become benches, shelves and platforms. The touch, the transparency, the amazing plasticity of form: water is for children an everlasting wonder. Water zone with running water connecting to an indoor square ( play zone ) is apparently a favorite place for children. The small water fall and a pond in the open-air square stimulate their imagination and induce various creative games. In the kindergarten, children learn much through their daily activities and search for


their identities in social life. In the building, their encounter with the architecture begins with touching. As the architectural elements such as the wall and ceiling gradually become toys, and as the elements of toys become part of the architecture, the architecture fits itself to the scale of children, and the children unknowingly begin to feel the architecture through the physical contact. The floor gradually transforms, rain water flows, the walls have uneven surfaces fit for hide and seek, and the pillars and benches become ledges for the seasonal decorations such as flowers. It is important for the tor for children to have the freedom of transformation. In this kindergarten, I heeded not to be too luxurious as an architecture, not to be too goal oriented as toys, and to create an environ of merged boundary of architecture and toys. There is no roof over the stair with the small water fall 2 meters lower than the ad-

joining ground, so the outdoor parameters such as rain, wind, sunlight, heat are reflected indoors. Therefore, children’s sense and play style changes according to the season and weather. One might at times play alone, or at times together. Through the interaction of play with friends, children learn the ways of thinking of other than theirs, handling of various situations, how to teach others, how to suppress selfishness, and respect one another.

Above: Architectural elements function as furniture photo: SUDA Architects


Above: water zone photo: SUDA Architects

I was scolded when I drank from the water front.

Boy, 5 yrs old

Girl, 5 yrs old

Boy, 4 yrs old

Girl, 5 yrs old

Boy, 3 yrs old

Hot days feel nice!

Draining a lot of water is fun.

The flow of water is pretty.

Small glass balls in the mortar are pretty.

designer: project:

World Architects and Engineers

Harper Woods Middle / High School


Harper Woods (MI), USA

Type of school: middle/high school Type of project: new construction Gross surface area: 14,436 m2 (155,388 ft2) Year of completion: 2007 No. of students: 642

Right: Cafeteria Lobby with durable Belden brick on the interior. photo: Jim Maguire


uiding principles for the design were established with the district’s planning team, focusing on the growth and development of incoming middle school students and their progression through the secondary education experience. The ideas of “revealing layers” and “turning the corner” influenced the aesthetic image of the facility. Just as children reveal layers of their individuality, the envelope of the school attempts to reveal layers of color and material reflecting students’ evolving identities. The mixture of traditional and contemporary materials represents the blend of the community’s heritage with new ideas.


The facility is organized into three zones: academic, athletic, and arts. The academic zone is defined by two distinct wings serving middle school and high school functions. A linear “town square” commons serves as a versatile gathering space connecting each zone. The commons acts as a day-lit lobby for activities in the gym, kitchen, and auditorium. Corridors are minimized by organizing classrooms along collaborative resource centers. Small-group teaming, individualized studies, conferencing, and technology hubs allow for evolving learning opportunities within the resource centers.



Left: A row of columns made with Belden brick defines the corridor and locker areas photo: Jim Maguire


Below: Belden brick at the main entrance photo: Jim Maguire

designer: project:

Partners in Architecture, P.L.C.

Westview Elementary School


Warren (MI), USA

Type of school: public high school Type of project: new construction Gross surface area: 9,150 m2 (98,500 ft2) Year of completion: 2007 No. of students: 450

Right: Exterior variations of material include metal siding, panels and Belden brick photo: Jim Maguire


estview Elementary School is designed to support exploration, discovery and team based learning. Reinforcing this concept is an outdoor classroom which provides an educational environment for hands-on life sciences learning. This centrally located space is strategically placed near the main entrance lobby which allows all students and visitors to experience this dynamic learning arena on a daily basis. The space offers a pond, teaching platforms, lecture area, butterfly and hummingbird gardens as well as an abundance


of vegetation. The twelve foot high glazed brick serpentine wall adds an interesting backdrop and is a welcomed surprise to on lookers and users of the space. The layout of the facility encourages visual interaction between spaces and provides additional opportunities for socialization and learning. The entrance lobby will incorporate a future interactive kiosk to the buildings energy management system. This kiosk will provide students with information on the building, its geo-thermal mechanical system and the energy it consumes.



Below: Exterior patterns and details created using Belden brick photo: Jim Maguire


Below: Exterior faรงade with Belden brick photo: Jim Maguire

creator / author: Joel K. Sims, AIA Founder/president

editing team: Lianne Billoni, graduate architect David High, graduate architect Holly Smelser, graduate architect Katelyn Talbott , marketing coordinator

Graphic design / layout: Jan Franciszek Cieslak

sponsors: Belden Brick Company PO Box 20910 Canton, Ohio 44701-0910 Phone 330-456-0031 Nanawal NanaWall Systems, Inc. 707 Redwood Highway Mill Valley, CA 94941 Phone: (888) 411-6262

School Designer Š 2011

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Atlanta Mentone Birdrock Copenhagen Gilroy Kristiansand New York City Dumbreck San Anselmo Wiliamstown Astoria Yokohama Tokyo Harper Woods Warren

Student Spaces vol. 1  
Student Spaces vol. 1  

Student Spaces - book about architectural design for scools.