Washington Elementary School in Sacramento
Washington Elementary School in Sacramento features a number of unique metal elements manufactured by Zahner using ImageWall for custom perforated metal. Working for Landmark Construction with the designers at HMC Architects, Zahner provided the screens with custom perforated imagery on stainless steel and pre-weathered steel. These screen elements were used to provide passive security and signage while expressing the school's creativity, science, and technology — marking a new shift towards practicing the STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics).
To establish this new shift in education, Sacramento City Unified School District partnered with city leaders and Principal Dr. Gema Godina-Martinez to envision the transformative shift and redesign of Washington Elementary School. The school pursued a STEAM academic program, becoming a magnet for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math education.
HMC Architects was challenged to redesign classrooms and collaborative learning areas not only to support student-centered learning, but to also influence the culture of the school’s educational experience. The project had a tight schedule. This transformation needed to be completed in less than a year to meet the Fall 2016 grand re-opening.
When HMC Architects developed the gate design for Washington Elementary, one of the considerations dictating the design decisions was how to provide security for the elementary school students. The project team employed passive security design measures by developing an open-air security gate which would ensure student's safety while also promoting a playful STEAM atmosphere.
The architects came up with a creative security solution: the picture perforation pattern is more open at children's height, while densely perforated at adult heights of 4' to 6' — ensuring that young students have greater visibility while adults will have greater difficulty seeing into the open air school commons.
Passive Security in Architecture
The necessity of security is so intertwined in the history of the built environment that it may go back back to the roots of why we want to build in the first place. From the age-old castle typology to the earliest hill-forts, architecture has served to secure and protect since its humble beginnings.If you're designing a building for security, it's important to think about how your design's defenses can be met sustainably — and to also consider how these measures can be achieved without antagonizing its inhabitants. These are the challenges which passive security aims to solve: quietly protecting people — and without the ongoing maintenance and energy costs that traditional security entails.