Press kit – CAW Architects’ award-winning instructional design portfolio is shaping the future of healthy schools in California – CAW Architects

Palo Alto, United States, 2021-06-14 –

CAW Architects (CAW) is at the forefront of redesigning California education with its decades-long award-winning educational portfolio. As a company committed to improving the educational lives of children and young adults, the company’s broad educational portfolio, which covers work on elementary, secondary and university campuses, reflects its belief that all students deserve access. and inclusion equal.

“What sets our company apart is that we fundamentally believe in creating spaces where students can thrive,” says Director Brent McClure, who leads the design of the company’s educational environments. “We know firsthand from our work that spaces can dictate a sense of well-being and inspiration and impact the way students learn and feel about themselves in the educational context. . “

It has been well documented that there is a clear link between improving student performance and the environmental quality of the built environment. According to Director Chris Wasney, FAIA, “Buildings with better indoor air quality, natural lighting and other high-performance features lead to increased footfall and improved test results.” He continues, “We believe that good design is sustainable design, and these practices will directly benefit students. “

To date, the company has designed the first two LEED Platinum K-12 public school buildings in the Bay Area, a net zero energy master plan for a full public high school in Oakland, and substantial revitalizations of the University campus. from Stanford, which has a set goal of becoming carbon neutral and using 100% renewable energy. Highlights of the company’s educational portfolio with a focus on sustainable learning environments include:

Corte Madera School

For this new campus development for the Portola Valley School District, the CAW were tasked with replacing aging classroom buildings and designing two new buildings that allow for flexible and adaptable learning environments. From buildings to natural wetlands, integrating architecture into the natural site was essential for both water conservation and the creation of solid educational experiences in the landscape. Examples include classrooms that project over a frog pond, allowing students to walk around the environment in mud boots.

Over time, the new classroom buildings will support countless interactive learning opportunities through the new science, art and creative space labs present in the space. The Portola Valley School District and the CAW believe the new campus inspires students’ curiosity and challenges them to experiment, test ideas, work in groups, and ultimately be better prepared for it. future in today’s ever-changing global society.

Monterey High School Scientific Innovation Center

Monterey High School wanted to expand its science department to create new dedicated classrooms to support its cutting-edge chemistry and burgeoning biotechnology programs. The high school is located on a sloping hill, providing minimal space for expansion while the existing campus has limited areas for student outdoor space. The CAW creatively replaced an unused art classroom with a new two-story building that cuts the slope of the hill. The program stacks three new science classrooms on top of a shared innovation lab space, all connected to the existing science building to form a single complex.

The upper classes are equipped with fume hoods and biotechnology equipment, all in a flexible laboratory environment. The lower-level innovation center has sliding glass walls that open up to outdoor learning spaces and student gathering areas so that the space can function as a showroom, lab, and classroom. assembly space to provide the school with a very flexible space. The outdoor spaces create new terraced plazas and gathering areas, which almost double the usable space available on campus. School principal Thomas Newton said: “With this new building, our entire campus will be revitalized with a greater sense of community. ”

Union Gymnasium Sequoia

For this heritage project, the CAW introduced a number of high performance building features to create the first LEED Platinum public school building in the Bay Area. In need of a new gymnasium for its growing student population, the school district asked the company to design a new 18,000 square foot gymnasium with a welcoming plaza and drop-off area. Students now arrive on campus in a welcoming new entrance plaza, highlighted by the north-facing light-filled glass lobby that invites students and patrons into the gymnasium and the campus beyond.

To meet the school district’s goals of achieving the highest standards for energy consumption and sustainability, TCA’s design solutions incorporated the large louver at the roof ridge with translucent glass that fills the gymnasium with abundant diffused natural light. This allows daytime use of the gym without any artificial light source, reducing lighting requirements by over 70% in the facility. The entire roof area of ​​the building uses photovoltaic film to generate solar energy and further offset the building’s energy needs. Now seen as a model on how architects can shape sustainability in educational environments as well as an educational tool for students who use the building daily, the Sequoia Union Gymnasium advances the educational mission of the school district and the community. in several important ways.

O’Donohue Family Educational Farm at Stanford

Located on the outskirts of the Stanford campus, the farm, true to its name, serves as a working agricultural complex that annually supplies more than 15,000 pounds of produce to the campus. It acts as a living laboratory where students, faculty and the community can test ideas on the social and environmental aspects of agriculture and urban farming. The TCA design tightly combines farm structures to preserve the majority of the site for field crops and orchards. The utility structures are arranged to maximize the efficiency of their workflow for day-to-day farm operations while framing the views and creating outdoor spaces for events, small and large gatherings, and outdoor learning.

The barn is the center of the design, a large structure with a strong iconic silhouette created by a simple gable roof topped with skylights that provide light and ventilation. It houses a workshop, tools and equipment storage, offices, toilets, a large seminar room and an open-air pavilion. The design’s open-air hull, veiled skin and large outdoor program area take advantage of the temperate climate to create an ideal outdoor teaching environment. The relationship to the land is evident in all aspects of the design and curriculum.

About CAW Architects

The CAW aspire to change the world for the better, one beautifully designed project at a time. The company’s commitment to architecture as an agent of social change is evident in its award-winning body of work that advocates for educational and community projects. Whether it’s designing new buildings on distinguished campuses, bustling city centers or stately neighborhoods, or adaptively reusing historic buildings in need of careful rehabilitation, TCAs give buildings a new lease of life, infusing them with energy and economic vitality. The company takes pride in its superbly designed projects that meet only the needs of clients.


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Abdul J. Gaspar