Construction Zone: An eye on the past

May 1, 2008
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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