The new Machias Elementary School showcases the community's heritage through an exploration and expansion of its rural identity, which was accomplished through a connection to the land; frugality, the use of materials at hand; and self sufficiency and independence.
A connection to the land: The school is oriented with all classroom neighborhoods facing the woods. An open playfield in front of the school replicates historic rural development patterns in which the farmhouse is located behind the fields.
Frugality, the use of materials at hand: Curved beams salvaged from the original school are reused as arching columns, generating a curvilinear form reminiscent of your grandfathers barn. The circulation and communal learning spaces such as the library, interdisciplinary learning lab, and resource classroom reside within the building's free-flowing core.
Self Sufficiency and Independence: A super-insulated building envelope with triple-glazed windows and spray-foam wall insulation, ground-loop heat exchangers, and a 100Kw photovoltaic array estimated to generate enough electricity for approximately 18% of the buildings energy needs are a significant start toward independence. No fossil fuels are used to operate a building estimated to use 39% of the energy of a typical school building.