A year and a half ago, I wrote about the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences STREAM building. At the time, it was a project that I’d been working on for a couple of years already, starting with an amendment to SAAS’s master plan, developing the project program, and then moving forward with the design of the building. We were in the midst of construction documents and gearing up to begin construction that summer, in anticipation of welcoming students into their brand new classrooms in the fall of 2015. Almost four years since we started work on the master plan, that day has finally arrived and the building is full of life — with students, robots, art, and excitement around every corner.
I was involved in the project up until a year ago when I moved on to explore a new opportunity at another design firm, but I was kept up to date on progress from the team, and even got to walk through the building during construction and couldn’t wait to see the completed project. I had the opportunity recently to spend some time in the building when SAAS held an open house to celebrate the grand opening with their community. If it had been a long process for me, it must have felt like an eternity for the school anxiously anticipating the arrival of this day!
The most exciting part of bringing a new building to life is when you see it finally inhabited by the people you designed it for. And there’s nothing better than having an opportunity to talk with students and teachers, hearing that the finished building is beyond their expectations; that the purpose-built classrooms provide new teaching and learning opportunities they didn’t have before; that the Learning Commons, a multi-functional gathering space, has become a living room for the SAAS student population; and that after just a couple weeks of being in operation, student projects are visible everywhere you look. SAAS has made the STREAM building their own.
I’m so proud to have been a part of this important project for Seattle Academy and hope it inspires students and faculty for decades to come.
(Click on a pic to embiggen and view the full gallery.)
Today, only sixteen percent of American high school seniors are proficient or have an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. How, then, do we prove to students that STEM subjects are interesting, important to their future, and that they shouldn't be intimidating?
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