Located on a steeply-sloped site, the design takes advantage of the site’s topography by linking the three-story academic bar to the media center, gym, cafeteria, and administration through connecting bridges on the second and third floors. An outdoor amphitheater—proximate to the core instructional programs and existing nature trails—is nestled in the space between.
Through an innovative use of materials, moments within the design are inspired by a walk through the woods and bring the outdoors in. An organic frit pattern reminiscent of leaves falling to the ground—developed by GWWO using computational design—is screenprinted on the bridge’s glass curtainwall. As the sun shines through the glass, the pattern reflects on the floor while also reducing solar heat gain. Within the lobby, custom-designed, backlit perforated panels illuminate a view of the forest.
AIA Chesapeake Bay Honor Award
AIA Chesapeake Bay Sustainable Design Award
Within the primary learning environments, natural light and ventilation—proven factors in student performance—are maximized and views to the surrounding forest are offered from nearly every window. Classrooms feature flexible, movable furniture and dual teaching walls to support differentiated instruction. Each academic level also offers centrally-located flex classrooms that can accommodate two classes simultaneously. Free of lockers, corridors serve as breakout spaces with benches, whiteboards, and pinup space for collaboration.
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Sustainable design features were integrated with the learning goals for this new high school, including a focus on outdoor environmental learning opportunities. Achieving LEED Silver certification, energy reduction initiatives included the use of computer energy modeling to inform the building design, natural daylighting coupled with intelligent lighting controls, zoning of the building to correspond with occupancy and use profiles, and enhanced building commissioning. Building concepts such as maximizing ventilation in all learning spaces, water efficient systems, a well-insulated envelope, and the use of durable materials with recycled content were also incorporated.