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School’s inclusive design prioritises pupil well being

“The design is playful and I liked the way the interior space caters for various learning functions to support creative learning,” Jonny Sin, Judge.

Project: Smithfield Elementary School

Award: Education & Learning, Silver, 2022

Location: North Richland Hill, Texas, USA

Design practice: HKS (Education)

Client: Birdville Independent School District

This new elementary school has a pivotal position in the historic Smithfield Train District walkable community. Designed to put social and emotional wellbeing first, a modern and inclusive learning environment features natural materials and a broad spectrum of textures and colours.
The two-story ‘learning commons’ is the heart of the school and features a learning stair, maker space 'cabin' and reading hive, all of which are flooded with natural light.
The academic wing features six five-section grade-pods, each with a shared flexible teaming hive comprised of a digital display, desks, acoustic strategies, soft flooring for underfoot comfort, flexible soft seating and lighting which can be adapted depending on the activity children are taking part in.

Design highlights

A large number of autistic children attend the school and the neuro-diversity friendly design encompasses a considered approach to the sensory needs of students. A sensory well-being hub features an outdoor sensory path, and interior active, respite and playful zones. There are sensory activities on offer as well as varied floor textures and colours and adjustable light intensity and colour controls allowing for a customized experience for individual needs.

{{1824386 - Smithfield Elementary School}}

Photo credit: Roy Aguilar

    SENIOR DESIGNER: Leonardo Gonzalez Sangri
    PROJECT ARCHITECT: Patrick Nedley
  • INTERIOR DESIGNER: Jennifer Laamri
    PROJECT MANAGERWayne Reynaud

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