2016—Diane Patrick Elementary School

Arlington ISD—Diane Patrick Elementary School
Architect: Corgan

New elementary school for 900 students, with outdoor play areas (play courts, two playgrounds and grass play field). The school has a STEM curriculum focus.


The design preserves and features the wooded creek bisecting the property. A strong connection to its site gives the building a sense of place and blurs the line between indoors and outdoors. The district received community input in creating a model that reflects their vision of 21st century learning. The parent center allows family to look in on the learning process, to help them continue it at home.


Masonry masses define outdoor learning courtyards, frame view and contrast lighter materials at feature spaces. Classroom communities are organized around a common space and planning room to support secure, collaborative learning. Color and graphics are used to break down the scale of the large school and reinforce STEM themes. Traffic flows from communal campus spaces to grade level pods. A wooded creek bisects the property, informing the site and building layout.


The design process began with an intense visioning session with the owner, and continued with weekly reviews. A clear hierarchy of public, semi-public and private spaces creates a secure but vibrant campus. Attention to detail at the scale of instructional and teacher planning spaces ensured a functional design. Flexible furniture was selected and planned as an integral part of the building design.


Solar studies informed building orientation and massing to maximize indirect daylighting. Strategically placed sunshades protect east and west exposures while permitting light and views. Heat and drought-tolerant landscaping and a campus garden allow teachers to take science lessons outdoors. High-efficiency HVAC and zoned lighting, which turn off when daylight is available, conserve energy.  Sustainable elements are teaching tools for energy efficiency and the local environment.


Durable, low-maintenance materials reduce life-cycle costs. Flexible collaboration areas capture circulation space and utilize it for learning. The master plan of the site allows for shared use of play fields with a neighboring elementary school. Adaptable outdoor learning spaces extend the usable footprint of the school and enhance the student experience. The wooded creek and strategic site landscaping give the building a strong connection to nature with minimal maintenance.

School Transformation

This scale of this large elementary is reduced through secure, compact classroom communities, each with its own identity. Each grade level shares a collaboration space for large group activities, breakout sessions and distributed media center resources, with adjacent facilitator rooms. At the heart of the school, the media center is adaptable by students with movable furniture, writeable walls, and floor outlets. Outdoor learning spaces allow learning to extend passed the walls of the school.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner