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2014 Committee on Architecture for Education Design Excellence Award
Raisbeck Aviation High School was conceived as a response to Highline School District’s proximity to the aviation industry, a deep desire to give students access to college and engineering professions, and an educational vision that melds hands-on, project-based learning with academic rigor. The new 400-student STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) school enables students to flourish through co-location with the Museum of Flight and immersion in aerospace and aviation. The design supports this program physically, visually, and symbolically with project labs for aircraft and robotics construction, state-of-the-art science labs, classrooms, and a multi-purpose gathering space.
With a program built around a rigorous STEM program and Aviation as an overarching theme, this high school creates a unique setting for learning on a tight runway adjacent site. The project embraces the aviation theme wholeheartedly, taking advantage of dynamic runway views and the connection to the adjacent Museum of Flight. The program is stacked vertically and housed within a dynamic curving steel section that reinforces the aviation theme without merely mimicking. The vertical part ensures that all the classrooms, labs and the forum are flooded with natural light and graced by dramatic views. Simple dramatic floor to ceiling graphics merge the learning environment with the real airport functions adjacent. The central forum looks like a convincing multipurpose space that has to serve a lot of needs. It successfully acts as a central, vertical punctuation in the plan and a natural activity hub for the school. At a moment in the evolution of public school education where career ready training is being promoted, this project stands out as an authentic learning environment and an uplifting setting in which to explore and learn.
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