Benjamin Franklin Elementary School

Lake Washington School District

Designed to preserve and harness the environment as learning opportunity, the school’s two-story classroom wings reach toward the site’s large wooded area and visually connect students with nature. Between the wings, courtyards landscaped with native plants serve as outdoor classrooms.

Inside, small learning communities are formed by clusters of four classrooms around a multi-purpose activity area that faces the forest and reinforces the connection between lessons and environment. Shared resources link the communities, and sustainable design features make science tangible. Natural ventilation in classrooms utilizes “chimneys” for a natural stack effect. Windows are oriented to maximize daylighting and shading devices control glare. Non-toxic, recycled and low-impact materials are integrated throughout.

AIA Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE), Educational Facility Design, Award of Excellence (2007) | AIA Northwest & Pacific Region, Design Merit Award (2007) | American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Walter Taylor Award (2007) | AIA Seattle Honor Awards for Washington Architecture, Honor Award (2006) | AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE), Top Ten Green Project Award (2006) | AIA Washington Council Civic Design, Merit Award (2006) | CEFPI International James D. MacConnell Award of Excellence, Finalist (2006) | CEFPI Washington State Chapter, Polished Apple Award (2006) | CEFPI International, Design Concept Award (2004)