Designing Schools for Ecology & High Performance
Philosophy and Qualifications for Planning and Design Services, Fielding/Nair International

Key Design Features
for Ecology & High
Performance Schools

1. Healthy & safe
2. Cost effective
3. Sustainable
4. Shares facilities with     community
5. Site sensitive
6. Optimal natural light
7. Optimal electric light
8. Renewable materials
9. Renewable energy
10. Water management
11. Acoustic comfort 
12. Thermal comfort

Ecology is about more than saving energy--it's about a web of interrelated relationships. Applying the principles of ecology to school buildings means examining the sustainability of the entire system--student performance, site and community fit, cost effectiveness, visual, thermal, and acoustic comfort. For example, the use of natural light saves energy and increases student performance. The drawing below illustrates the use of daylighting on a tight urban site.





Yeshiva Elementary (above), Fielding, 2001, details

The photo at left illustrates the use of
interior windows
to bring daylight into a central
team area. In addtion to saving on electric lighting
the use of interior windows provides interior
spaces with a feeling of connection to the outside--in
this case a view of a working international harbor.
Another benefit of interior windows is that they foster a sense of connection between spaces, encouraging a closely networked community of learners.

The use of shared facilities illustrates the principles of both ecology and synergy. The aerial photo at right diagrams the use of shared facilities at Harbor City School. Educational programming was developed during the early planning stages for the city aquarium, theater, and library. Rather than construct and maintain its own gym, students use a nearby YMCA. The use of shared facilities allows Harbor City to provide a high performance environment with far less space than a conventional high school. In terms of a broad ecology, partnerships are not only cost efficient, they are a lesson in global citizenship.