Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School
By aligning the building with the site’s dramatic natural topography, the designers of Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School created a key functional opportunity: the split-level design, with the primary entrance and community spaces on the middle level and classroom zones above and below, ensures students are never more than a single floor away from their destination. The stacked central corridor is flooded with light on all levels and affords direct visibility from top to bottom. A large-scale graphic installation celebrating the school’s namesake – a local community activist and noted civil rights leader – is a key focal point.
Public and community areas face the front of the site, while classrooms are oriented toward the rear of the school overlooking practice and recreation fields. Classroom pods peel away from the central corridor, creating four sets of small-scale learning communities containing three core classrooms, a science room, and a specialty classroom. The specialty classrooms are located closest to the corridor, in order to be easily accessed by students traveling from their primary academic wing. A social zone naturally takes shape at the intersection of classroom pod and corridor, facilitating both peer-to-peer and faculty-to-student engagement.