Program: A two-story, 66,580-square-foot public elementary school for 600 students. The building, which replaces a roughly 40-year-old school on the same site, consists of a steel-structure classroom wing with a library and office, along with a concrete structure housing a gymnasium and multipurpose performance space.
Design concept and solution: After four decades in an inward-focused building with little outdoor communal space, Carl Sandburg Elementary wanted an extroverted building with a strong connection to the landscape. To keep the school open during construction, the architects sited the new structure north of the old. They wrapped the two wings around a grove of big-leaf maple trees, and deferred to the grove’s shape by angling the classroom wing away from it. The NAC team clad the building with a combination of concrete masonry units and prefinished steel siding. To emphasize the school’s environmental focus, they mounted solar panels on a galvanized steel frame affixed to the glazed facade; the panels double as shades for the computer lab inside. The architects divided the academic wing into neighborhoods of three or four classrooms. Each neighborhood is anchored by a central communal classroom with glass walls and doors, which gives teachers the flexibility to observe several groups of students at once. The classrooms open onto patios and other outdoor learning areas near the maple grove. For the interior materials the team chose a natural palette. They defined the main public areas with a textured fir-panel ceiling, which extends from the commons to the library, and set off the corridors’ dark gray carpet and polished concrete with warm finishes such as stained-MDF wall panels. In addition to the solar panels, the school’s sustainable features include geothermal heat pumps, daylight-responsive lighting, and a rain garden.
Client: Lake Washington School District
Owner: Lake Washington School District
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Architect of record: NAC|Architecture
Interior designer: (performed within firm) Amanda Clausen
Mechanical: Hargis Engineers, Inc.
Landscape: Weisman Design Group, Inc.
Acoustical: Sparling & Associates
General contractor: SpeeWest
Gross square footage:
66,580 gross square feet
Total construction cost:
Metal Panels: AEP Span
Metal/glass curtain wall: EFCO
Curtain wall: EFCO
Insulated-panel or plastic glazing:
Wood doors: VT Industries
Fire-control doors, security grilles: Overhead Door Corp.
Suspension grid: Armstrong
Paints and stains: PPG Industries / Miller Paint Co.
Resilient flooring: Nora Rubber Flooring
Downlights: Essentia LED
Exterior: Gardco LED
Dimming System or other lighting controls: Wait Stopper Daylight Sensing Controls
Photovoltaic system: Sunpower