Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Chamiza Elementary School
Albuquerque Public Schools, New Mexico

To develop a Master Plan for this 10-acre, west side neighborhood school the design team worked closely with the Building Committee, District Administration, and the neighborhood to develop a design reflecting the uniqueness of the environment, the prominence of school in their daily lives, and a melding of site and building. With the input of the teaching staff and the learning environment consultant, Anne Taylor, Ph.D., the design focused on developing a physical setting to support the curriculum. The classrooms were designed as a series of pods distinguished by varying color palettes, personalizing each ‘neighborhood’ of classrooms. With door handles, bookshelves, stage height, window placement, and benches all scaled for the young child, the learning environment is personal, nonthreatening, bright, and educationally stimulating. The interior courtyard affords protection from the wind and provides a wide open, yet confined, easily supervised, activity area for the children. The walls are masonry with colors from the area, therefore giving it a sense of place on the west side of Albuquerque next to the basaltic escarpment.

  • 1998 Best Building Award, NM Business Journal/AGC
  • 1996 Award of Merit - The Albuquerque Conservation Association