SKL Architects has completed Westside School, a pre-K-thru-8th grade private school. This creative, adaptive-reuse project transforms a 1970s church building into a school for the 21st century.
As stewards of the next generation, Westside was committed to extensively reusing the existing church structure and minimizing the embodied energy used in new construction. The church's soaring wishbone-shaped nave was the departure point for SKL Architects's imagination. Inspired by the soaring nave, the designers preserved the 45' glulam arches and reconfigured the space to accommodate classrooms, offices, support, lunchroom, and storage, preserving the existing gym.
The challenge was to connect the existing structure to the new entry foyer in a way that communicates a sense of unity. The architecture provides a range of engaging learning environments. Idea spaces carved into the classrooms provide flex space for spontaneous meetings and informal, smaller, group learning. Other found spaces encourage interaction, creativity, and curiosity. The new entry forms a central, transparent gathering and display space where parents, faculty and students convene and connect. The unified structure embodies learning, linking the school's present with its future and past.
Photography: Benjamin Benschneider