In rural Alaska, a school isn’t just a building to teach math, language, and science. The school is the center of the community. It reflects the village’s personality, history, and traditions. It’s a place for educating students … and so much more.
In New Stuyahok, nearly 300 miles from Anchorage and completely removed from the road system, our team visited with village elders, students, teachers, district staff, and members of the community as we designed the new school. The result is a school that is also the community’s home, with the kitchen, library, Yup’ik studies room, and a gymnasium all part of the multipurpose common area. The common area supports a strong learning environment and acts as a separation between active and quiet learning spaces.
With a desire to reflect New Stuyahok’s salmon-fishing based subsistence lifestyle, the school’s design offers a reference to fishing boats stored upside down for the winter. Our commitment to designing with community in mind shaped all elements of the school, influencing everything from the commons area to the types of windows.