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February 22, 2022
The Little School in Bellevue finished improvements and an expansion ahead of the 2021-22 school year.
Play, collaboration, and exploration inside and out have been integral components of the program since its founding in 1959. To emulate these ideals, the design team worked closely with the TLS Campus Planning Committee to create a campus plan that enhances the unique curriculum, promotes environmental stewardship, and accommodates future growth.
The new Rivers Building is a single-story, 14,808 square-foot multipurpose facility that serves as a gateway to the campus. Extensive use of wood in the columns, details and open scissor trusses echo the surrounding forests. Large skylights and clerestory windows provide an airy atmosphere. Students, staff and visitors enter from either end of the lobby, which can open to the outdoors using operable glazed walls.
Work included renovations to the existing Meadows, Woods and Cedars buildings. Outside, meandering footpaths through the trees improve circulation between buildings. Stump stools enhance outdoor gathering spaces and a new commons area rests in the heart of the campus. A small outdoor amphitheater with tiered seating features spiraling inlaid bricks engraved with donor names. The landscape design retained mature trees and vegetation to reinforce the organic character of the school’s natural setting.
Owner: The Little School
Architect: Studio Meng Strazzara
Landscape architect: Weisman Design Group
General contractor: Bayley Construction
Civil/structural engineer : Coughlin Porter Lundeen
MEP engineer : BCE Engineers
Geotechnical engineer: AESI
Envelope: Wetherholt and Associates
Acoustics: SSA Acoustics
Security Systems: SSNW
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