Sandy High School

Sandy, OR
Oregon Trail School District

At the new Sandy High School the art and wonder of learning is on display everywhere and integrated within the students’ everyday academic and social life. Transparency and visibility are prominent. The learning experience extends to the exterior where the connection between inside and outside has been enhanced by the fact that the grounds surrounding the building are available for a variety of educational activities. Both building and grounds are teaching tools.

The school’s design is inspired by the classic Roman town plan, where a public square at the intersection of two axes allows the students to focus on the social and learning experience, rather than on having to navigate a large campus.

Introduced by a celebrated entrance, a boulevard organizes and presents the civic center, comprised of a theatre, gymnasium, and multi-level commons. The secondary artery—Main Street—connects all the daily functions of commons, library, art, exercise and locker rooms. This street also provides the vertical link, traversing the topography with multiple levels which facilitate the nestling of the “cabins” into the adjacent hillside. The cabins are groups of transparent learning spaces assembled around a shared extended learning area and terraced into the hillside, providing a tranquil setting within nature.