2018—Rodriguez Middle School

Denton ISD—Rodriguez Middle School
Architect: Corgan

The 176,000-square-foot Rodriguez Middle School amplifies freedom of choice through flexible environments and transparency to create successful, well-rounded learners. Each grade level is separated into its own classroom wing, including adaptive collaboration spaces and a learning stair, which can be used for small group projects, lecture seating or an independent study area.


The design creates age-driven collaboration opportunities through small learning neighborhoods within the school. Maximizing visibility and transparency through glass classrooms and expanded corridors promotes connectivity between grade level and informal supervision. Neighborhood-specific learning stairs serve as anchors for each grade, allowing students to customize their learning environment to match the curriculum and their preferred learning style, while promoting interaction.


The design uses locally-sourced, durable materials that yield low maintenance costs. Flexible spaces allow students to utilize the space to its highest potential, creating custom learning environments to match their learning style or project need. Dual functioning shared spaces such as the learning hub and large corridors throughout the school create opportunities for future flexibility during the lifetime of the facility.

Sustainability—Star of DistinctionSustainability

Maximizing student well-being and connecting them with the natural environment was an early design goal. A retention pond for rainwater collection and site irrigation doubles as a learning space for students, featuring a walk-up area for classes to use for instruction. ICF external walls, geothermal HVAC and a highly-efficient envelope saves significant energy and life-cycle costs. Large glass facades were designed away from direct light to preserve energy, yet allow for maximum daylighting.


The school serves as an anchor to a growing suburban community, eager to make their voice heard. Active involvement was crucial from not only key decision-makers, but past and present teachers, administrators and students. Through an immersive and engaging process, students and adults designed their own solutions and presented to the larger group, explaining why their solution created a sense of place. The result set a precedent for their community as contemporary and future-ready.

Planning—Star of DistinctionPlanning

Scalable learning opportunities were key to planning. Intimate learning spaces inside the classroom engage students on an individual basis. Collaborative opportunities are maximized within the academic houses through flexible learning spaces. Shared spaces promote and activate interconnection between grade levels. This model elevates the learning environment for the district, allowing for pedagogy and curriculum changes to support future growth and prepare students for their future.

School Transformation

Due to the rise in project-based learning, a school needs to not only support this change but allow avenues to encourage and elevate the learning experience. Freedom of choice is a main driver to the design, allowing users to maximize their experience. Through transparent and highly-flexible spaces, students and teachers can customize their environment to a specific lesson or learning style, empowering them to be critical thinkers and promoting a community culture of success.


Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner