less steel disks, creating a waterfall effect before the
water enters the cistern. The stored rainwater can
then be used for irrigation in the community garden.
The community garden is far from the only open
green space on the school grounds. Rain gardens
and permeable pavers around the property retain
stormwater runoff. Native plantings mitigate the
need for irrigation and signage educates the “inno-
vators,” faculty and visitors about the plant species
surrounding them, as well as the importance of
maintaining unique and diverse ecosystems.
Roughly 50% of the roof area features vegeta-
tion, some of which is visible to building occupants.
The green roof serves the usual functions of insula-
tion, stormwater retention and minimization of the
urban heat island effect, but also goes a step further.
One section is designated as a bird sanctuary.
There are varying levels of vegetation, bird houses
and dead trees anchored to the roof to promote the
habitat,” stated STR Partners.
Recycled and/or locally-sourced materials make
up much of the building. Bricks and concrete ma-
sonry units were sourced locally, as was the glazing
used for the building exterior. The majority of recy-
cled content used on-site was structural steel,
though carpet tiles, drywall and terrazzo flooring all
make use of recycled materials as well.
The school serves a densely-populated residen-
tial neighborhood, but it also sits at the edge of an
industrial corridor. The designers were keen to en-
sure that the new property was a true asset to the
With that in mind, the property was developed
as a park-like atmosphere, welcoming the commu-
nity to gather and make use of the outdoor spaces.
The building itself was also designed to accommo-
date community events unrelated to school func-
tions. The library, multipurpose gym/auditorium and
pool can all be made available separate from the
rest of the school for use by the neighborhood.