On the site where a small church and school building once stood, there is now a beautiful new elementary school and playground area. Like most projects in San Francisco, this project had its challenges. The school is located in the Sunset District of San Francisco, which is a densely populated residential area. The owner and architect had to overcome many challenges in designing a fully functional building on a rather small site that was bordered by houses on two sides. They rose to the challenge and were successful in creating a building that is fully functional for the client as well as attractive and well-scaled to the surrounding neighborhood. Given the 3-story height limit, the building’s systems had to be carefully designed to keep the overall building height within the zoning limits.
Ample play areas on the site, even within the building footprint were accomplished by creating a third floor play deck. The play deck serves two purposes; it allows the third graders to have their own play yard, apart from the younger children, and it softens the overall mass of the building. This is accomplished by pulling back the third floor exterior wall which makes room for the play deck and makes the building appear more like a two story building from the front elevation.
The private K-3 school has a compaction grouted foundation and a two-foot thick concrete mat slab on grade. The structure consists of three stories of steel-frame construction with plaster exterior, metal roof and large bay windows. The interior spaces include a 2-story multi-purpose room, a library, administrative offices, eight classrooms, a computer room, and a teacher’s lounge.