Friday, 21 May 2010

Su Valley High School, Alaska

Su Valley High School is an award winning, very green school, with a large open reception, library, social space at its heart. With materials needing to be shipped a long way to build up here, costs can be high, and transport energy significant. Local materials are featured thus for cultural and economic reasons. Keeping library shelving and other features below (children's) shoulder height leaves an eye line that is very typical of the new multifaceted spaces appearing everywhere. They bring a real sense of "us-ness", of community and of place. Here is a wider view of it too.

This glass wall, slightly obscured, is lit by LED lights in colours that reflect the northern lights which occur all year round up in these Northern latitudes and I love that local signature.

1 comment:

Peter Brown said...

Stephen-
Glad to see you at SuValley yeserday. And it was good to be at the school. Last time I was there was working with the school community during the planning stage, so it's great to see the collective ideas transformed and and now implemented.
Here's a back story from the planning workshops, when the spaces were being envisioned...After a morning of reviewing spreadsheets, the school board president burst out of her seat and exclaimed: "I really want the planning and design team to know how amazing our kids are. When they are not in school they pull salmon out of the water that are as big as they are. They fly airplanes around the tallest mountain in North America, then they land them in lakes. They climb mountains. They are guides that show people the beauty of our world. They ride snow machines and ATVs to school. And when they get to school, it better be as exciting as they are..." Quite a challenge, and a great way to frame place for learning.
-Peter