Conceived as a type of inhabited landscape, the new building echoes and mirrors the contours of the native hillside. Planted green roofs provide outdoor learning spaces while improving building performance and managing storm runoff. Strategically placed skylights and floor-to-ceiling glazing provide an abundance of natural daylight and minimise energy consumption. Solar fins made from recycled air-entrained aluminum panels shield the building from the sun along the building’s southwest side, where heat gain and glare are main concerns. These coral-like foam panels preserve views and invite daylight into classrooms while forming one of the distinct characteristics of the project’s design. In addition, the primary mechanical system relies on radiant heating and natural ventilation for cooling. This passive system, along with wind turbines, cool roofs, cisterns and bio-filtration systems, are visible examples of functional and efficient sustainable design.
The collaboration between the architect, district, students and parents, and local government - all committed to a state-of-the–art, environmentally sensitive teaching facility - resulted in a building that becomes part of a progressive educational process itself.