The new Mountlake Terrace Elementary focuses on creating a culturally inclusive, welcoming, and flexible environment that supports indoor and outdoor learning. To support these goals, the school is designed to blend into the surrounding landscape. The building’s exterior comprises vertical metal siding laid out in a random pattern to mimic trees in a forest.
The two-story school is programmatically divided into three wings: classrooms, administration/library, and commons/gym/music – all connected by circular pathways. Small group rooms are centrally located around classroom clusters of three to provide visibility, easy access, and a diverse environment. The school has an abundance of varied spaces, including an outdoor learning classroom, nooks located under interior stairs, and a library nest that overlooks the exterior and interior entries. The overall design increases circulation, ease of navigation, and inspires learning.