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Entrant Name
DLR Group

Design Team
Designer: DLR Group Architecture: DLR Group Mechanical Engineering: DLR Group Electrical Engineering: DLR Group Structural Engineering: DLR Group Interiors: DLR Group

Owner's Representative: Heery International Civil Engineering: Coughlin Porter Lundeen Landscape Architecture: Aspen Design Group Acoustics: SSA Acoustics, Inc. Food Service: JLR Design Group General Contractor: Cornerstone General Contractors, Inc.

Owner / Client
Lake Washington School District

Bell Elementary School

All Submissions > Scale 2: Building Scale

With an existing forest and wetland, significant slopes and a sprawling campus, the replacement of A.G. Bell Elementary posed challenging natural and built constraints. The resulting design brings restoration to the fractured site by integrating its unique qualities in a school enabled to meet educational goals, sustainably reduce the cost of ownership, and reinforce community connections. Featuring roof canopies and staggered elevation levels, the building complements nearby vegetation and maximizes daylight through sun shades, light-diffusing glass and deliberate orientation to further reinforce transparent learning environments. Additionally, the surrounding forest was left intact, requiring diligent phasing of the occupied site. In crafting the classroom pods, the design team listened carefully to the Lake Washington School District advisory team, ensuring each classroom has equal access to shared space. With a clear, welcoming entry, space designed for community and school use, and fully integrated walking paths to surrounding neighborhoods and streets, A.G. Bell Elementary is now enabled to serve both its students and community.

This 65,306 SF replacement school serving grades Pre-K through 5 is carefully nestled next to a wetland and an existing forest. Selective demolition, early construction of key functional elements, and specific phasing allowed this building to be constructed while the previous building was occupied. Low-thermal gain glass and sun shades are strategically utilized to maximize the effectiveness and impact of daylight. Each flexible, four-classroom pod features a shared area that can be used for project-based learning. The library, clad in salvaged cedar wood from the old school, hovers prominently over the entryway and lobby. The facility utilizes displacement ventilation in the classrooms for improved air quality and thermal comfort. Rain gardens manage storm water, and throughout the building, special signage enables the building’s prominent sustainable features to be utilized as a teaching tool.