Text description provided by the architects. The new Baker Architecture + Design classroom building for the Albuquerque public school system is designed as an exciting and functional facility, which promotes creativity and is conducive to teaching and learning. This project is the first in New Mexico to obtain USGBC LEED For Schools, Gold Certification.
LEED Gold was achieved through the following: a dedicated recycling room, high recycled content of construction materials, superior thermal insulation, wall insulation made of recycled blue jeans; energy efficient heating and lighting fixtures; fresh air supply and air exchanges; low water use plumbing fixtures; passive solar lighting in all rooms plus multiple lighting levels to work in harmony with natural day-lighting.
The solar orientation and natural daylighting strategies had the most profound effect on the building's design. The site constraints required a north-south alignment and east-west exposures which can be difficult in New Mexico's climate.
The architects responded with 10' deep walkways on the east and west sides, and large north-facing light monitors in every classroom. The Art/Music Room serves a second function as an important gathering space for local community events and is designed as a prominent neighborhood landmark.
The building site was very tight; bounded on three sides by outdoor play areas. The buildable footprint appeared to bifurcate this area and cut off the grass play field from the rest of the campus. The design response was to create a breezeway in the new building that would align with an existing circulation path and enhance the relationship. The design also provides a sheltered waiting area adjacent to the parent drop-off / pick-up lanes.