While the stepped collaboration spaces are central to SAAS’s educational mission, they also form the architectural expression of the building. The transparent glazing cascades down the exterior of the building and resolves into a primary gathering space anchoring the urban intersection.
Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences Middle School
Owner's Representative: Seneca Group
General Contractor: GLY Construction
Structural Engineering: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
MEP Engineering: PAE Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineering: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Landscape Architecture: Swift Company, LLC
Lighting Design: dark | light design
69,900 square feet
Architecture, Interior Design, Planning
The Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS) Middle School continues the evolution of the school’s urban campus. The new building provides educational programming configured vertically to leverage the limited site, enhance pedagogical principles, and connect with the surrounding community. The Middle School synthesizes its urban condition and program into a six-story academic volume relating in scale to the mixed-use commercial core. A lower volume, dedicated to athletic activities, mirrors the scale of the residential context found along 13th Avenue.
Classrooms, the building block of the program, are organized around collaborative learning spaces promoting project-based coursework and cross-disciplinary discovery. Areas of glazing in each classroom create a transparent and porous connection between classroom and collaboration space, enabling learning activities to flow seamlessly between them. Collaboration spaces are designed as a series of stepped double-height interior volumes that cascade between floors, enhancing visual and physical connectivity between all grades within the stacked program and creating opportunities for students to explore, cross paths, interact and engage beyond the four walls of the classroom.
The building reflects the school’s commitment to a socially and ecologically responsible learning community, where sustainable features actively foster student engagement. The Middle School is configured to provide students with a supportive learning environment that encourages independence, experimentation, and a dialogue between the educational curriculum and the urban neighborhood of Capitol Hill.
Photography: Adam Hunter, Lara Swimmer
An outdoor space at the entry provides a welcoming, street-level gathering place for students and an urban amenity for the community.
2023 AIA National Honor Award for Architecture
2022 AIA National Education Facility Design Award
2021 AIA National Honor Award for Interior Architecture