Stoutland School / Dake | Wells Architecture

© Architectural Imageworks

The challenge in this project was to convert an unsightly and dangerous alleyway between two existing buildings into a central public gathering space for the community as well as students. The new school commons would eliminate the need for upperclassmen to walk outside to the existing dining hall at the east end of the campus.

Architect: Dake | Wells Architecture
Location: Stoutland, , USA
Project Area: 14,000 sqf (New Construction), 40,000 sqf (Renovation)
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Architectural Imageworks

© Architectural Imageworks

The solution inserts a simple steel frame into the alleyway wrapped with a clerestory of glass and colored panels. The panel density responds to solar orientation, minimizing the effects of solar gain and glare while flooding the interior with daylight. A new white ribbon surrounds the space below the clerestory and stitches the new construction into the old. A new administrative office block is anchored by a glass reception box with clear views of the entry and commons.

© Architectural Imageworks

This converted alley now serves as the most public of gathering spaces in a rural farm community where school sporting activities are the primary social functions. Bold graphics and a contemporary approach to fluorescent lighting brings a new sense of pride to the school. Designed to standards, this commons is the anchor to a project that also included daylit corridors, classrooms and mechanical system upgrades that received a grant from Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources for roughly 10% of the project’s construction cost for its energy conscious approach.

© Architectural Imageworks
© Architectural Imageworks
© Architectural Imageworks

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Stoutland School / Dake | Wells Architecture" 01 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Lindsay

    This looks just like the prison on that NatGeo show. Even the colors are the same. I like some of the elements, like the windows, but this is not a place that would make me feel good as a student at all. It just reinforces the feeling of being just a generic institution.

  • shane

    yeah you are right… every prison i have seen is bright and airy accompanied with nice lighting, super graphics, and tasteful color schemes… i find it unfortunate that you dont appreciate this effort towards modernity in our public educational systems. this is great progress from the banality of suburban brick and beige…. come on….

    • ben lewis

      She’s right.
      You must be the architect trying to defend your tasteless institutional efforts.
      Educate yourself and design something with a soul.