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Wilson High School, Tacoma, United States

Friday 27 Feb 2009

Campus transformation

images: Benjamin Benschneider 
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Rejuvenating an ageing campus with a single building intervention 

Wilson High School was an ageing campus in need of a revitalisation of the educational and social environment, as well as a transformation to create environmentally comfortable, inspiring learning spaces. The client desired to consolidate the campus by replacing 5 non-functioning one storey buildings with a single multistorey building. Non-air-conditioned classrooms is the district standard; this presented a serious challenge, requiring an innovative design solution to provide comfortable temperatures and high indoor air quality.

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 invariably absent from typical single family residential neighborhoods?" Is rejuvenating our aging campuses a vital issue of urban sustainability both in terms of energy and materials conservation, as well as preserving the role of civic space?

The building seeks to transform a campus where "site" has been relegated to the "space between building modules." Plaza, yard, stairs, bridge, and walk are carved out of both site and building, visually and experientially intertwined, creating not only "public" space but real "community." The project alters the spatial matrix of the site and transforms its scale and character from uniform and predictable to varying and experientially stimulating.

The new design stimulates social interaction by redefining and animating exterior campus spaces and by establishing engaging transitions from "private" campus spaces to the broader public domain. New building replaces five existing buildings and eight portables, consolidating and opening up the campus. It houses general classrooms, science and computer labs, a therapeutic learning center, a library and administration and guidance centers. This high-performance facility features integrated design strategies providing both functional classroom daylighting and displacement ventilation.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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NAC Architecture

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