LPA’s design of Casis Elementary, the reimagining of a 70-year-old campus in Austin, Texas, was recognized this week by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) with the Caudill Class Award, the state’s highest honor for school design.
The annual Caudill Awards recognize Texas projects exemplifying excellence in planning and design. The awards are part of the TASA/TASB Exhibit of School Architecture, which emphasizes “learning, community context, aspects of enhancing value, and designs that support learners.”
Learning environments are designed to support collaboration, exploration and a variety of activities.
The aging Casis campus was redesigned to support the district’s learning initiatives, while maintaining the campuses’ long-standing connections with the community and nature. A pair of two-story buildings connected on the top floor by a learning deck preserved open space and the original flow of the campus. Learning environments are shaped around collaboration, flexible work areas and active outdoor spaces.
The design was developed through an extensive community engagement process, including parents, educators and students, which highlighted the importance of maintaining links to the neighborhood and preserving a grove of trees, the Casis Forest, a popular spot for play and study.
This school is the direct result of a wonderful collaborative process with educators and the community. AISD really trusted the design team to develop a design that is educationally innovative, environmentally responsible and preserves the school’s history and connection to the community.
The Caudill Awards jury praised the campus’s “beautiful and creative solutions,” making special mention of the outdoor learning environments, central courtyard, connections between buildings, learning deck, and integration with Casis Forest. The jury also noted the project’s “very intentional planning process” and “STRONG community connection,” which featured “great community feedback” and “student-developed ideas.”
“This school is the direct result of a wonderful collaborative process with educators and the community,” says LPA Director of K-12 Kate Mraw. “AISD really trusted the design team to develop a design that is educationally innovative, environmentally responsible and preserves the school’s history and connection to the community.”
Casis is one of three Austin schools recently designed by LPA, including Menchaca Elementary in south Austin, and General Marshall Middle School, a new campus under construction in the Mueller new urbanism community on the site of the city’s former airport.