The Ardmore Elementary School designed by NAC Architecture is located in Bellevue, United States. The pursuit of highly energy efficient building solutions is driving designers to increasingly compact solutions. Ardmore Elementary School meets this challenge with a compact and energy efficient design while creating an experientially rich educational environment. The school reveals itself in layers, offering users an engaging ‘slowness of discovery’. In collaboration with the users’ steering committee, the team identified three key planning goals; the new design was to create a sense of community, facilitate collaboration and link the school to nature and to its site.
Community and a culture of collaboration are best achieved in a non-hierarchical building. Each learning neighbourhood has direct and equal access, not only to the other neighbourhoods, but also to the core community assets of the school: multipurpose room, library, courtyards, nature and daylight. Ease of collaboration is achieved by encouraging learning at all scales; cultural, communal, and individual.