Wilson High School Campus RejuvenationEdit profile
The new three-story building replaces five existing buildings and eight portables, consolidating and opening up the campus. The regained site area is developed with planting, plazas and walks, and parking. The new building houses general classrooms, science and computer labs, a therapeutic learning center, the library, and administration and guidance centers, comprising a total of 97,000 square feet. This high-performance facility features integrated design strategies providing both functional classroom daylighting and displacement ventilation. The new building, conceived as a site intervention, seeks to re-engage the school with its site and poses the question, “Can a high school campus provide some measure of meaningful public space that is so invariably absent from our typical long-established, single-family residential neighborhoods?` The building seeks to transform a campus where “site` has been long relegated to the “space between building modules.` The redesigned, transformed plaza, yard, stairs, bridges, and walk are carved out of both site and building, and are visually and experientially connected, creating not only “public` space but real community. The project transforms the experiential character of the campus from uniform and predictable to dynamic and experientially stimulating. The newly formed sequences of spaces, from public external areas to private internal campus spaces, establish “spatial discovery` as a transformational tool to reshape the physical environment of the campus. The new building introduces a smaller scale and active edges to a formerly inactive main courtyard. A wide porch provides cover and access to the student store, and shelter on the way to and from the new oval courtyard. Campus fabric around the new building has become a seamless transition of prospect and refuge spaces, providing ample spaces for serendipitous student gathering, vital at this stage, according to recent neuroscience research on adolescent brain development. This design approach helps to rejuvenate the existing campus into a relevant and engaging contemporary learning environment. We see regeneration of our aging school campuses as a vital issue of urban sustainability and an opportunity for the reintroduction of a civic presence at the same time. The architecture, daylighting and mechanical system work together in an integrated way, each helping the other to create a more energy-efficient, stimulating, and comfortable learning environment. The displacement ventilation system – a pioneer in K-12 projects in the region – provides efficient air distribution and 100% filtered outside air to the building. Heat exchangers extract heat from return air prior to exhausting, minimizing energy usage while maximizing indoor air quality. Skylight shafts bring daylight to the interior of classrooms and hallways, and also conduct warm return air to the rooftop mechanical penthouse. The project uses ground face masonry veneer units and prefinished corrugated and smooth metal siding. Both materials provide firmness and long term durability appropriate for the high school as a civic building. Blue reflective metal siding color was selected to reflect the ever-changing northwest light and to blend and interact with the sky, which is especially important due to the large open space condition on the building’s south side. Corrugated siding was used at the perimeter of the building, implying a firmer edge to the outside. Carved out spaces such as the oval courtyard and the relief at the three-story building employ smooth metal siding, which provides different light reflections, enhancing the changing appearance of the building at different times of the day and different sun positions.