Atlanta International School
Primary School Learning Center
Lord Aeck Sargent designed a primary school addition to the Atlanta International School’s (AIS) existing campus.
AIS is housed in a former high school building completed in 1932 and designed by noted Atlanta architect, Philip Trammell Shutze. It was essential for LAS to be responsive to the design that already existed on campus and to respect the existing architectural style by creating a seamless transition between new and old.
The goal for the project was to connect two existing buildings and create a unique identity for AIS’ primary school, which serves grades K-5. LAS was tasked with creating a series of collaborative, flexible spaces – both interior and exterior – which are intended to serve dual purposes in order to provide a wide variety of opportunities for small and large group learning. Before the project, primary school students lacked collaborative space and worked in hallways for group activities and assignments. In addition to the outdoor classrooms the new building provides, students can now utilize a series of flexible, shared work spaces both inside and outside of their classroom. This created multi-functional learning environments and connectivity across the entire primary school.
LAS was challenged with tight boundaries and a responsive design required efficient use of all the available space, which included providing a new outdoor courtyard that successfully ties the existing primary school buildings in with the new construction. The courtyard was strategically designed to be a space that flowed seamlessly from the indoor learning areas. A long, continuous patio, the layout of hardscape and trees and geometric organization all bridged the inside space with the outside, creating opportunities for individual and group learning.
Daylighting and shading were critical to this project, from window placement to the layout of the courtyard and the canopy that shades the outdoor classroom on the west side of the building. LAS worked with their civil engineer to provide a responsible storm water drainage system created through the use of permeable pavers, donated by one of AIS benefactors, which ensures that storm-water runoff is stored on site rather than being piped.