2017—Copperfield Elementary School

Judson ISD—Copperfield Elementary School
Architect: Stantec

The school’s identity is based on the Texas landscape, and flexible design supports knowledge sharing in formal and informal learning environments. Classroom pods with transparent operable walls open to multipurpose flex zones allowing collaboration and crosspollination between curricula. Technology is prevalent with iPads in every classroom and touchscreens in the corridors and flex zone. Energy efficient design promotes sustainable practices and maximizes use of outdoors for informal learning.


Inspired by Texas landscape and wildlife, different animals and colors aesthetically identify each learning pod. Classrooms have transparent and operable walls that open to the flex zone, where students meet for specialized lectures. The building is oriented on an east/west axis to take advantage of solar angles and prevailing winds in the courtyards. Local materials were used including stone, glass, and metal roofing. Condensate lines collect in a central location for water harvesting.

ValueValue—Star of Distinction

The school’s efficient design serves as a textbook for students and the community to learn about sustainable practices. The two- story plan minimizes land development with the building oriented on an east/west axis to reduce heating load from the sun. The design maximizes its use of the outdoors for informal learning environments. The 4-pipe chiller system minimizes utility costs, and low maintenance materials used throughout the building increasing longevity and ease of maintenance.


Design incorporates advanced energy modeling to optimize the plan and building placement while controlling the impact of solar gain. The two-story plan minimizes land development and maximizes its use of outdoor learning, while the building’s interior visual graphics are utilized as a teaching tool to educate students and community. Sustainable features include vented roofing, energy efficient HVAC, gray water usage, locally sourced materials, natural daylighting, and 100% LED lighting.


Together, the project designers and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, formed a committee of teachers, administrators, and parents – who reviewed 3 proposed scenarios as a group, and chose a plan that best reflects the district’s vision for the integration of education and design that fit the proposed budget. The designers facilitated the process, but it was largely community driven.


The K-5 school’s learning pods form six classroom spaces of the same grade level centered on an open flex zone, encouraging collaboration. Classrooms have transparent and operable walls that open to the multipurpose flex zone, where students meet for specialized learning, lectures, or informal gathering. The pods promote team teaching and cross-pollination between curricula, allowing for infinite flexibility in class sizes and instruction delivery.

School Transformation

The design allows infinite flexibility in class size and instructional delivery. Glass walls provide transparency allowing instructors to monitor multiple TAKS testing classes, eliminating signing in/out. Pods can be closed for a quiet setting while other areas of the school continue operating. Ceramic tile wall patterns at eye-level create fun engagement while learning to count, and tinted glass and big bold graphics create bright and engaging environments appropriate for young learners.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner