School With Porches and Portals
The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture
At this school for children ages 5–12, everything is connected through decking to encourage the use of covered outdoor space between classrooms. Pairs of classrooms share a screened porch and covered breezeway and connect with their neighboring pairs via another breezeway, which hosts stairs. Working or playing on decks that extend like docks into the grass, students can feel both remote from, as well as connected to, their classroom. Layered, extended thresholds and generous fenestration under wide roofs produce a simultaneous sense of shelter and expansiveness. It is important that children feel neither over-contained nor under-contained as they explore the unfamiliar world beyond their homes. The building extends itself into its surroundings, reaching out to invite entry and offer containment without threatening to hold too tightly.
“Very nice use of a soft enclosure that seems both climatically correct for Texas and programmatically suitable for an elementary school. The multiple relationships made possible by the porous edges between inside and outside promise an exciting and dynamic set of spaces.”