Cherry Crest Elementary School
Architect: NAC Architecture
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Award of Merit
This school’s integrated experiential environment stimulates both the curriculum and student engagement by offering a variety of learning spaces.
Building and site are woven into each other at Cherry Crest Elementary, making a visitor feel not so much “in the building” as “on the site.” This integrated experiential environment stimulates both the curriculum and student engagement by offering a variety of learning spaces which encourage overlap of formal and informal interaction. Educational environment and physical environment intertwine and are inseparable. The building is a gentle part of the site, and the whole site is a teaching tool.
The beautiful integration of site and building provides ample opportunities to extend learning to the outdoors—from rooftop to courtyard to the site around the school. The path of water is well illustrated. The warm materiality both inside and outside conveys well the "treehouse" quality that the students desired. It feels as though this building leaves no imprint on the land.