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Local Salt Lake City architecture firm, MHTN Architects, Inc. has received an Honorable Mention Award for outstanding educational facility design by Learning By Design magazine. Recognized for the innovative design of Helen M. Knight Elementary (Moab, UT), MHTN Architects is one of only five firms to receive an Honorable Mention Award in the national design competition.
Learning By Design judges recognized MHTN Architects, Inc. for its innovative and environmentally sensitive design of Helen M. Knight Elementary. In its design an use of sustainable local materials, judges noted, the building celebrates place – an important part of being a green school.
The school “resembles a contemporary cliff dwelling and has a nice visual connection to the environment,” judges said. But the connection goes beyond regionally appropriate aesthetics: scuppers, or downspouts, collect scarce rainwater, and interior rock gardens allow students to study local plant life. “The entire building is a landscape for learning,” the judges said.
The school replaces two older buildings but uses a school-within-a-school approach to avoid appearing too large. Various seating opportunities encourage active use of the public areas, and the use of extended learning spaces and community spaces acts to break down the scale. “With just the right moves,” the judges said, “what could easily be a simple double-loaded corridor creates little found space that makes all the difference.”