Helen Keller Elementary School

Lake Washington School District

project gallery

project information

Type:
Replacement
Size:
56,528 SF
Construction:
$17,700,000
Completion:
2012

project overview

Through its design and pedagogy, Helen Keller Elementary School seeks to instill its 320 K-5 students with Helen Keller's voracity for learning and curiosity with the world. Tactile artwork, sign language graphics, and oversized Braille dots encourage students to be inquisitive and thoughtful citizens. Keller's inspirational quotes flank students' paths to four different learning communities, each with identifying themes that reflect the school's mission and its namesake's character: Growth, Respect, Integrity, and Perseverance.

Creative phasing was utilized to construct the replacement school adjacent to the existing working school, and the design needed to adhere to a strict 35-foot height restriction. Extensive glazing and skylights provide plentiful natural light into learning and common spaces, while wireless technology and movable partitions give teachers flexibility. Responsible environmental solutions, including a high performance building envelope system, mechanical heat recovery systems, and site preservation strategies create a healthy, vibrant place for children to learn. 

The result is a warm and welcoming building that provides a cheerful human scale and invites students and the neighborhood to share its community "living room."

2013 American School & University Architectural Portfolio Issue