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May 24, 2013

Issaquah High School

Photo by Benjamin Benschneider [enlarge]
Landscaped rain gardens can be found in the courtyards.

Location: Issaquah

Architect: Mahlum

Agency/owner: Issaquah School District

General contractor: Cornerstone General Contractors


Issaquah High School makes the relationship between building and place a priority. A courtyard carved through the center of the school opens to the view through Squak Valley. The interior space surrounding this courtyard is a public commons that brings people together throughout the day and connects back to the surrounding landscape.

The connection back to the landscape is a recurrent theme throughout the building. Circulation paths connecting the three classroom wings allow for several different routes of travel, all of which open onto views of landscaped rain gardens or connect back to the valley view through the commons.

The school also engages a vibrant local performing arts community by making the 600-seat theater open for shared use by the public.

An integrated approach to systems design minimizes the building’s environmental impact and operating costs. The building meets the district’s criteria for maintenance, durability and sustainable design, and follows the state Sustainable Schools Protocol.

Jury comment: “The planning and zoning of this project is especially good. The orientation to the valley is nice, and for a large, almost corporate feeling building, the plan opens up into smaller pieces allowing the students to relate to it.”


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