The new Shorewood Elementary School replaces the 1950’s-era, 500-student elementary school on the same site. Steep slopes and setbacks encumber significant areas of the urban site. The new school capitalizes on the qualities of the sloping site and the opportunity to be “the corner school” to this residential neighborhood above Puget Sound. Cascading stairs and ramps lead from the bus loading lane to the entry plaza in front of the school, creating a powerful arrival and transition experience for the students.
Classrooms are grouped in clusters of five. Each cluster has restrooms and breakout space completely contained within the cluster to shape a small-scale learning community. The skewed angles of the classroom pods guarantee that although the pods are physically identical, the experience, natural lighting and views of each pod and each room will be a unique experience. By clustering the classrooms, walking distances within the building are reduced, leaving each classroom only a few steps from core facilities like the gym, offices and music room. The gym and community room are placed to allow them to be used separately from the classroom wings.