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Sheldon Lake Elementary School

A campus design that responds to the scale of its users through a playful, intimate, and engaging environment

  • 87K

    Square Feet

  • 700

    Student Capacity

  • $20M

    Construction Value

  • Houston, Texas

    Houston, Texas

Learning through the lens of performing and visual arts

Sheldon Lake Elementary School emerged out of a districtwide initiative to roll out specialized learning programs to each of their six elementary schools. As one of two campuses with a focus on performing and visual arts (PVA), the goal for this new school of choice was to provide an open learning environment that uses student interests to excite them about learning.

As the architect, we partnered with the district to approach design through the lens of PVA. Iconic features known as “drums” house the PVA programs, including a Blackbox theater, and art, music, dance, and design studios. These colorful drums serve as anchors informing the building organization and orienting students as they move through the school. Our team created a free-flowing design, where the theater, dining, and library spaces don’t have walls but still have their own core. The two-story building also offers several visual and physical connections to an exterior courtyard space where students can interact with nature.

While research indicates that an arts-centered curriculum is beneficial to language and reading development, the school also fills community amenity gaps by providing performance, gathering, and shared green spaces.

At a Glance

Learning By Design Architectural Awards, Citation of Excellence, 2021
TASA/TASB Awards, Star of Distinction: Design, 2020
American School & University Educational Interiors, Bronze Citation, 2020
Meet Our Team

Gretchen Diesel, Senior Associate, Interior Design Lead

My job is to translate project requirements and client goals into the built environment.
Gretchen Diesel Senior Associate, Interior Design Lead Read More

Tracy Eich, Senior Principal, Texas Design Leader

Architecture at its core is problem solving—but at its essence, it’s also a form of behavioral science, and the quality of the spaces we create affects the human spirit.
Tracy Eich Senior Principal, Texas Design Leader Read More

Chris Hopkins, Associate, Project Manager

We design efficient and aesthetically pleasing facilities, but it’s the positive client relationships that make our projects successful.

Gretchen Diesel

Senior Associate, Interior Design Lead

Tracy Eich

Senior Principal, Texas Design Leader

Chris Hopkins

Associate, Project Manager

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