Francis Parker School is San Diego's oldest and one of its largest independent day school. Back in In the fall of 2002, the school held a design competition for its Middle/Upper School campus aiming at the creation of a new Master Plan as well as the expansion of the existing facilities.
Lake|Flato, won the competition with a design proposal that included "a unique blend of sensitive environmental planning, inspirational public spaces and progressive, open buildings".
One of the recipients of the 2009 Educational Facility Design Awards, the campus recaptures the spirit of its original 1912 structure. The new classrooms, punctuated by operable walls, encourage connectivity to the environment to expose the process of education, not simply the products. High performance envelopes and environmental systems significantly reduce operating costs. The campus emphasizes vibrant, landscaped exterior spaces at its heart.
Environmental Design & Performance Characteristics
Sustainable strategies in the classrooms
1 Design and Innovation: Open-air classrooms; process of education visible; invigorating tilt-walls
2. Regional/Community Design: Built environment rooted in place, multiple buildings yield perforated site, recaptures views; parking reduced
3. Land Use & Site Ecology: Rehabilitate mismanaged habitat areas; fire-wise landscape; outdoor courts; reduced building footprints
4. Bioclimatic Design: Thin buildings; thermal mass; exterior circulation; deep overhangs & lightshelves; acoustically engineered
5. Light & Air: Exterior circulation; controllable apertures; 91% daylighting &natural ventilation capable; low VQC; views
6. Water: Reduced turf by 3.5 acres; native plants; stormwater managed onsite; reduced fixture count; low-flow fixtures
7. Energy Flows: Narrow profile; thermal mass; exterior circulation; light shelves & sunshades; cool roof; high efficiency systems; future PV
8. Materials & Construction: Durability; flexibility; tilt-wall; sustainably forested woods; recycled materials
9. Long Life, Loose Fit: Open floor plans; panelized facades; right-sized program; parents/staff faculty/kids part of programming
10. Feedback Loops: Everything has multiple uses; library use has tripled (added staff); $50K incentive & projected $26K annual saving.
Commons Building: Flexible 'Commons' opens as a portal between courtyards, providing a flexible meeting place
Upper school classrooms and court
Recycled glass was cast into the tilt wall slabs and ground like terrazzo , capturing the California sun.
Upper school classrooms and commons
Positive feedback from the users proves the success of the adopted concepts. Head of Francis Parker School talks quite eloquently of the project: "[Our school] has completed... a unique, world-class facility that boldly states the sense of balance, community, security and respect for the environment, as well as the vision of tomorrow that defines [our school]. "
The school's Chief Advancement Officer added: "The concept seems a success with the users. It is rare to walk past a room when the doors are closed... our students and teachers believe in tlte impact of daylighting and natural ventilation...if you could do a straw poll of the facility, they would give a huge vote of approval."
Images and illustrations courtesy of the AIA