Lorenzo De Zavala Middle School

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Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School is a public school. It has a challenging site with existing water streams, rivers, ponds, and other types of natural habitats thriving almost like a wetland park. The Irving School District desired an economical, durable, and attractive building. The school curriculum invites exploration and discovery. Our design took advantage of the site and designed a middle school campus that embraces nature and enables full integration with the natural elements of the site.

To create a cohesive and supportive learning experience for middle school students, we created activity pods that encourage interaction, collaboration, teamwork, and participation. Smaller interdisciplinary neighborhoods that each contain four core subject area classrooms, breakout and support spaces, and teacher and student collaboration spaces are purposely designed.

The site’s intricate terrain and environmentally protected zones severely restricted site access for construction activities. With this in mind, and considering other factors including economical ones, the design team chose tilt-up panels as the main structural and building material. This not only solves the site access issue but also vastly speeds up the construction process.

The design team used different tilt-up panels for different locations and building functions. The gymnasium features panels over nine inches thick and thirty-two feet tall. At the typical classroom locations, we used panels that were hung from the structure similar to precast concrete panels. In addition, site-cast fins accent the exterior of certain facade elements for visual interest. Several panels are internally insulated as sandwich panels. Several panels are used inside the building in major circulation and lobby areas.

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