Construction Zone: An eye on the past

Hawthorne Elementary School, Riverside, Calif.

Hawthorne Elementary School, Riverside, Calif., is an example of how sustainable and historical elements can blend together seamlessly to offer a unique educational experience that celebrates both the past and the future. The 55,980-square-foot facility was built in the heart of Riverside's historic downtown.

The campus, which opened in January, houses about 600 students within 34 classrooms and includes a library, multipurpose room, lunch shelter and play fields.

The design adheres strictly to the city's agricultural heritage. The administration building takes its vernacular from farmhouses. In addition, a sandblasted school-year timeline demonstrates the importance of the seasons to agriculture and serves as one of the campus' main walkways.

Sustainable, cost-saving features include:

  • Deep building overhangs that protect the interior environment from solar heat gain.

  • The use of additional windows to capture natural light and minimize electricity usage.

  • Galvanized metal roof to reduce maintenance costs.

  • Lush landscaping between buildings to minimize thermal buildup.

  • Water-management strategies to address stormwater concerns.

The architect is LPA (Irvine, Calif.).

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