McDonald Elementary Outdoor Classroom
CAA students designed and built an open-air pavilion that would provide shade and flexible seating for numerous student activities.
A.B. McDonald Elementary had always been an advocate for outdoor learning. They had used an outdoor seating area for this in the past, but it was removed in 2018 after becoming too degraded to serve its function. With the onset of Covid-19, the school recognized the need to rebuild while allowing students to socially distance, safely enjoy the benefits of the outdoors and giving the instructors the structure needed to guide a class.
The new structure consists of undulating arches, a repeated truss system, brise-soleil-like cladding and large v-shaped columns. The cladding in the overhead structure is spaced to provide shade, but allow precipitation in the winter months, minimizing snow load. The seating was the result of a partnership with a local salvage company to recycle excess waste used in utility pole production. Usually turned into wood chips, the wood was repurposed into individual hexagonal seats that can be interlocked in different configurations. Our students worked with the principal, school district officials and engineers to ensure a product that will withstand the test of time.
The project was a 2022 jury winner in the 10th Annual A+Awards, Architecture +Collaboration for a design that made outdoor learning during the pandemic better.