2019—Hofius Intermediate School

Klein ISD—Hofius Intermediate School
Architect: Huckabee

The school was a new concept campus for the district; it provided an opportunity to explore new design elements and educational approaches. The district wanted to create choice, allowing students to select the size of the space they wanted to work in, the type of furniture they wanted to use, what technology they needed and how much visual and acoustical privacy a project required. Drop-down zones can be found in pockets throughout the building, giving students plenty of space to spread out.


The design is dynamic and multi-functional. The heart of the campus is the learning commons, a central multi-purpose space that enhances collaboration, technology-use and maker culture. The academic wings of the school are divided into independent learning communities for 6th grade, STEM and humanities. Deliberate use of materials reinforces the programmatic flow of the building—making spaces distinct yet cohesive. Daylighting and multiple outdoor areas add light, energy and vibrancy.


The school was designed to be highly adaptable to keep up with the ever-changing academic environment. Movable walls allow spaces to transform from enclosed to open / shared. Flexible collaboration spaces create connectivity and can be used for any size gathering; adjustable furniture and resilient materials promote seamless movement between spaces. Every mechanical aspect of the school, including the four-pipe mechanical system, was intentionally chosen to be cost-effective and efficient.


The site has a unique collection of forests and wetlands, which were intentionally preserved; the compact two-story school has a small footprint and ample natural light. Windows and outdoor areas are strategically placed to add to the openness of the building, maximize daylight, create security and provide unique outdoor learning opportunities. Educational kiosks display information about building energy use. The school has high-efficiency HVAC with energy recovery unit and LED lighting.


The openness of the building puts learning on display for the rest of the community while simultaneously connecting students to what’s happening outside. The design includes the latest security features, but still feels open, welcoming and warm to students, faculty, parents and visitors. The school recognizes key community members, honoring their names and the impact they have made. Design details, such as tiered seating, support community engagement, observation and events.


Through charrettes, adjacency exercises, visioning and tours, the design team and district personnel explored what 21st century learning meant for this new school—and for the district as a whole. The team performed hands-on tests of design elements / furniture and simulated a day in the life of a student. The resulting design emphasizes STEM, humanities and professional development; the commons is the glue that connects it all, giving students abundant resources and options for learning.

School Transformation

The new school encourages students to explore different pathways of learning while building meaningful relationships with peers, educators and community members. The environment is collegiate. Robotics, an AV / green room, a 3D printing center and a server room support 21st century skill-building. Spaces such as the cafetorium allow students to exhibit theater productions, art, STEM projects and more. Environmental graphics add character and create a stronger sense of place.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner