The Lake Wilderness Elementary School project began as a modernization to an existing campus of aged buildings and portables. However, the design process inspired an opportunity to fully transform the campus and provide a new two-story building designed for 850 students.
Allowing the former school to remain functional during the transition, the new building occupies the site of its former playfields. Lake Wilderness Elementary School now sits toward the rear of the parcel, on an upper plateau of the bi-level site. Its curved circulation spine is joined by four radial wings. This layout tightly knits four facades facing the public and fans out in the back to inviting light and views to the interior.
Maple Valley’s rising population actively contributes to the status of Lake Wilderness Elementary as one of the largest in the State. Future growth is anticipated within the building’s floor plan. Ground-level voids offer semi-sheltered outdoor spaces, ready to be infilled as classrooms as the need for incremental growth arises.
The spirit of the project emerged as a response to the residential context and large program size. Courtyards are nestled between simple, efficient “learning neighborhoods”. The building employs strong, simple gable forms relating to the adjacent community. Brick cladding provides quality and permanence.
Inside, Lake Wilderness guests, students, and staff are greeted by child-inspired design elements. Playful iconography, acoustic art installations, and strategic blocks of color foster a sense of whimsy. The interior of the school is scaled to intimate proportions creating environments of playfulness and wonder.