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Kirkland Junior High School Modernization/Addition Kirkland, Washington Community Environment: A major modernization and addition transformed Kirkland Junior High School into a bold community landmark and arts-oriented school. The community valued the existing adjacency of Crestwoods Park and Kirkland Junior High’s athletic fields and desired that connection remain after modernization. Therefore, the new building was constructed in the same location as the existing school buildings necessitating a phased construction project. The building was designed to emphasize the importance of this communal green space by creating views through the building to the communal green spaces. A glazed Commons is located adjacent the main entry to facilitate community use of the school and to encourage openness and connection with the community. Learning Environment: The design is based on the “house” concept of learning, creating an intimate, student-friendly environment. Designed to encourage arts education, emphasis was placed on flexible open spaces for gathering, team teaching and display. Teacher collaboration rooms facilitate team teaching within each house. A student gallery with views over the library and out to the fields, flows from the main entry and links the educational houses. The educational houses flank the central library and student gallery. Natural light and transparency were utilized throughout to enhance the program. Physical Environment: At Kirkland Junior High School, NAC developed a plan to replace the outdated 1950s‑era buildings while reusing a 1970s building. The owner wished to convert the four‑building campus to a single 108,000‑square‑foot building for 750 students that would improve supervision and facilitate implementation of the new integrated junior high curriculum. The building is organized along two axes: a north-south circulation spine and an east-west “transparent” entry and view axis. The circulation spine connects the new construction to the existing gymnasium complex. The transparent entry and view axis, formed by the entry colonnade and administration area, lead immediately to the student gallery, which serves as a central gathering area and display space for student art. Core academic houses flank the central library - the symbolic heart of the school - and open with views to the fields and park. Each house integrates all the core disciplines around a central flexible space and open computer lab. Teacher collaboration rooms facilitate team teaching within each house. Sustainable practices were considered throughout the design process. Key features included increasing ventilation effectiveness through increased volume of air movement, reducing the use of finish materials by having exposed ceilings and colored concrete floors, and daylight sensors in the classrooms to automatically dim the electric lighting based on available daylight. Planning Process: A modernization advisory team (known as the Mod Squad) made up of parents, teachers, facilities staff, and the professional design team was formed to discuss community interests, how best to fit the district’s template of instructional spaces on the site, and to be responsive to the learning community of Kirkland Junior High School. Project constraints such as educational delivery methods, size, budget, jurisdictional requirements, neighborhood fit, and timelines were guiding factors for the Mod Squad.
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