AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects
Ben Franklin Elementary School
|Photo credit: Benjamin Benschneider|
- Location: Kirkland, WA
- Building type(s): K-12 education
- New construction
- 56,800 ft2 (5,280 m2)
- Project scope: 2-story building
- Suburban setting
- Completed August 2005
The Ben Franklin Elementary School serves 450 students in kindergarten through grade six. The students are distributed within small learning communities, each including a cluster of four naturally ventilated and daylit classrooms around a multipurpose activity area. Stacked within two-story wings that extend toward the woods, these communities are integrally linked with views and access to nature beyond.
This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2006. It was submitted by Mahlum Architects, in Seattle, Washington. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.
The new school expands learning beyond the classroom by connecting the district's educational pedagogy with environmental sustainability at every level.
The school was designed to preserve and harness the environment as a learning opportunity. The large wooded area along the north end of school's site is valued as a community asset. Creating connections to this rich natural environment became a primary goal in the design process. Two-story classroom wings reach like fingers toward the woods and visually connect students with nature. Between, courtyards landscaped with native plants and enhanced by integrated artwork, serve as outdoor classrooms and feature an intermittent stream fed by roof runoff. Gathering areas for outdoor classes are located within the landscaping.
Because daylight and indoor air quality profoundly impact student performance, the school was designed to maximize performance in these areas. The classroom areas of the school are entirely naturally ventilated and daylit. This design also led to exemplary energy performance: the school is anticipated to use only 16,405 Btu per ft2 per year. Comparing baseline data from the old school to that resulting from a post-occupancy evaluation planned over the next year should validate performance results.
Owner & Occupancy
- Owned and occupied by Lake Washington School District, Local government
- Typically occupied by 483 people, 38 hours per person per week; and 200 visitors per week, 20 hours per visitor per week
Design charrette, Green framework, Simulation, Operations and maintenance, Open space preservation, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Massing and orientation, Insulation levels, Glazing, Passive solar, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Durability, Benign materials, Occupant recycling, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Low-emitting materials, Indoor air quality monitoring