John Muir Elementary School

Lake Washington School District

With over 20 different languages spoken on campus, John Muir Elementary School serves an exceptionally diverse and multi-cultural population. The new school design keeps the student learning spaces as the physical and philosophical heart of the school.

Replacing an existing facility located on the same site, potential building area for the new John Muir Elementary School was limited to a narrow band oriented north and south. This challenge was taken as an opportunity to build a powerful relationship between the school and the forested ravine along the east edge of the site, honoring the legacy of John Muir through environmental connections and stewardship. Circulation spaces, the library, and the commons are developed as transparent connectors that allow the forest to weave through the school. In an effort to better support educational delivery and strengthen this community, the design responds to the needs of the school while reflecting the district program and vision. A variety of spaces are provided at each learning cluster to support different types of learning – connected classrooms, shared instructional areas, small group rooms, and areas for outdoor learning. English Language Learners and resource rooms to support special needs students are fully integrated into the core learning clusters allowing for a seamless transition from general education to specialty instruction. Open visual and physical access between all learning spaces within the clusters encourages communication among the staff and supports an open and connected learning environment.

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) Washington State Chapter Awards, People’s Choice Award (2016)