x̌alilc (Halilts) Elementary School

Bainbridge Island School District

Emerging from the hillside on a steeply sloped site, the design for x̌alilc (Halilts) Elementary visually knits the structure with the natural environment. Carved into the hillside and nestled at the base of the forested backdrop, bars of classrooms alternate with exterior courtyards to provide daylight to all learning spaces.

Within the school, students experience a seamless transition from classrooms to interior and exterior learning and play spaces. Exterior learning areas vary in response to the developmental needs of students in the adjacent classrooms. Stretching further down the slope are planted gardens and athletic fields that link the learning spaces to the greater community beyond.

ASHRAE Puget Sound Chapter Technology Awards Competition, First Place, New Educational Facilities (2016) | CEFPI Washington State Chapter, Polished Apple Award (2015) | CEFPI James D. MacConnell Award of Excellence, Finalist (2014) | AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards, Award of Merit (2014) | AIA Council on Architecture for Education (CAE), Design Excellence Award (2014)


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“As we focus on differentiation and what that means to student learning, the shared learning spaces, the outside space, the small group meeting rooms, all add flexibility and more effective grouping possibilities needed for that differentiated instruction.”

– Ian Eisenhood, Teacher of x̌alilc Elementary School