Design Excellence Awards

< Back to Design Excellence Awards

Best in City Center – Fort Worth Design Excellence Award
Presented to VLK Architects
Condit Elementary School
Houston, Texas

Project Description:

Replacing a school that served the neighborhood for over 100 years, this new, two-story transformational learning environment is visually open, making excellent use of space. The design embodies the desires of the community for a transformational education space, yet reflective of the history of the 100 year old school it replaces. The design provides a variety of choices for task focus or casual spaces, giving students responsibility for their own learning, while teachers facilitate. The vision was initiated by community stakeholders in a design charrette to develop strategies that supported goals to inspire, celebrate, and create.

The most unique design feature of this project is the concept for the library. The project team and client did not want to have a traditional library that serves as a ‘book museum’. They wanted the library to be part of the everyday experience, so the two-story open commons area within the classroom wings serves as the library, main circulation spine, technology hub, and includes a variety of spaces for individuals, small and large groups. These unique spaces provide inspiration for learning from individual to collaborative. The learning stair connects the two floors of the building while providing a presentation space large enough for an entire grade level.

The instructional model and the building design support hands-on learning tailored to individual learning styles that allow students to develop their critical thinking, problem solving, and presentation skills through collaborative and team-based opportunities.

The campus has a single point of entry during the school day. Visitors enter through a secure entrance vestibule which directs traffic through the administration suite prior to accessing the rest of the building. The open design provides connectivity, transparency, and inclusivity while promoting informal supervision by staff.

Designed to be LEED Silver, every space is exposed to natural daylight and is cooled by an enhanced HVAC system. Materials are cost effective and easily maintained while locally and sustainably sourced.