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
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