Cascades Academy of Central Oregon in Bend is an all natural school that encourages experiential learning with a strong connection to the surrounding environment. Their new campus for PK-12 students was designed by Hennebery Eddy Architects and it is an absolute gem. Below the athletic field lies miles of underground piping for the school's geothermal system, which is the main energy source for heating. Solar passive design, healthy materials and daylighting further the school's mission to create an inspiring and special place in which to learn.
Cascades Academy is a 38,500 sq ft eco school located on a 21 acre wooded site next to the Deschutes River with views of the Mt. Bachelor in the distance. The non-profit school provides an intimate setting for PK-12 students with a low student to teacher ratio. The main building is separated into lower school and upper school wings surrounding protected courtyards and a close connection with the outdoor environment. Adjacent to the main building is a gymnasium built from insulated concrete forms that features roll up doors to open up the interior to the outside. Large roof overhangs provide additional outdoor space for class, lunch, or student gatherings.
The school aimed to create a natural and sustainable environment that respects the surrounding environment. Hennebery Eddy’s design features solar passive design, daylighting, solar power, heat recovery ventilation, use of thermal mass, and geothermal heating and cooling with radiant slab floors. Displacement ventilation helps keep the interior cool in the warmer months and abundant daylight from skylights, clerestory windows and carefully placed windows provides a bright learning environment. Below the athletic field lies 4.5 miles of underground piping for the geothermal field and an exposed portion inside reveals the radiant tubing to help the students understand the system.
Competed in 2013, the project has already been awarded a Portland Chapter AIA, Citation Award, 2013 and the Oregon Chapter IIDA, Best of Education, 2013 award.
Images ©Josh Partee