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West Powellhurst Elementary School
addition + renovation

Portland A.I.A. Design Citation
Northwest Regional A.I.A. Honor Award

The focus, throughout the project, was on a sense of experimentation and wonder that a school can provide to the children and the teachers that inhabit it. The scope of work involved a modern and playful administrative addition, the renovation of existing office facilities as well as a complete electrical, computer, life safety and ADA upgrade to a Portland elementary school. A design directive at the outset of the project required that construction details in the building should be implemented as a teaching tool. Throughout, the joinery of dissimilar materials as well as the exposed nut and bolt connections of different structural elements are put on display.

The addition provides a new identity to the outdated facilities with a sweeping steel canopy, a sweeping glazed CMU screen wall and a modern administrative wing. The strategic relocation of the main entry removed the necessity of the original steps and provides on grade access into the school. The new entry location provides an additional benefit of a protected courtyard where children can gather and play away from incoming traffic. The canopy that forms the sweeping front of the building is custom color matched to the district school busses. Each supporting column incorporates tree-grate seating areas accentuating the canopy structure as the limbs of a tree. Children waiting for their rides can explore the similarity of structure between what we build and the natural world that surrounds us.

The design was completed by Erez Russo while working at the Rommel Architectural Partnership with Terry Rommel as the principal in charge.

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