The 79,778 square-foot Machias Elementary School in Snohomish, Washington has won four architectural awards since being completed in December of 2010. Among the recent awards that the designers at NAC Architecture took home was a 2012 Merit Award from the AIA Washington Civic Design Awards. The Machias Elementary School celebrates the heritage of the rural Snohomish region through its close connection to the land, materials, and self-sufficiency, which make it unique within Washington State.
The master planning of the Machias Elementary School building on the site reflects the pattern of farmhouse development on rural lands. The building is pushed back against the woods with acres of playfields spread before it. The building’s materiality is also reminiscent of the old farmhouse barn. Salvaged curved beams from the original school make up arched columns that help give the building’s facade movement and motion.
The school is very sustainable and matches the Snohomish School District’s desire for self-sufficiency with the use of a 100kW photovoltaic array, ground-loop heat exchangers, triple glazing, and a super-insulated building envelope. The building also serves educational tool. A touch screen at the entrance to the school allows students and visitors to check the building’s energy performance throughout the day. Also, the designers at NAC Architecture installed a visual cut into a portion of an interior wall in order to educate the public on construction. The students and staff will be able to enjoy the sustainability of the building, both academically and physically, for years to come.