Increased enrollment at this private elementary school in San Mateo has required the addition of a second
floor over an existing building on Campus. It involved Special Planning Application and subsequent
community presentations that benefited largely from 3-D Renderings and animation.
The project mediated different agendas in order to create a supportive, memorable place for kids, with
minimum disruption of the residential neighborhood.
Site specific and the product of indoor-outdoor planning, the West Wing Second Floor opens up and
connects to the landscape. The pavilion-like quality of the campus provides ample opportunities to enjoy the
outdoors: building blocks are gathered around an open courtyard. A new Science Room anchors the end of
the first floor, while classrooms line the second floor. They open directly onto the exterior walkway, making
the inviting outdoors the focus for all interactions. Deep overhanging eaves cover the connecting open
walkways, while also protecting glazed surfaces from direct sun.
Campus and building design is used as a tool for learning. With a strong emphasis on sustainability built into
the design, the new West Wing Classroom addition serves as a living model of environmental stewardship
for students, faculty and the community. Windows are often placed at children’s eye level to establish
ecological awareness, which the school takes seriously.
Natural cross-ventilation system makes air conditioning unnecessary. Natural light is brought deep into the
interior space through the manipulation of the section and the roof slope. North-facing clerestory windows
admit diffuse daylight. Placing them immediately adjacent to the ceiling maximizes reflected light. Maximizing
daylight reduces electric bills for lighting and improves learning. High performance glazing balances the
need for views and daylight while protecting against heat gain. Photovoltaic panels on the sloped roof
convert sunlight into electricity. Seen from the Entrance, they announce the school’s renewable agenda.
Reconfigured parking lots allow run-off to filter through the landscape. A variety of campus landscaping
include native and water saving (drought-free) planting.