"A learning, SOCIAL AND CEREMONIAL CENTER FOR THE COMMUNITY."
Client: Lower Yukon School District
Architects: KPB Architects
Structural Engineer: Coffman Engineers
Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: Coffman Engineers
Civil Engineer: R&M Engineers
Alakanuk is located on the Yukon River Delta flowing into the Norton Sound. The Native community of 652 people is only accessible by water or air. The remote school was designed to also function as a social and ceremonial center for the community. During design, the program was divided into two distinct educational elements. The rectangular element provides a Quasgiq-like place in a modern context. This element houses the entry, multi-purpose reception area, access to the community gym, kitchen, and library. This area provides public access during non-school hours while keeping the classroom wing closed during non-school hours. The classroom wings are organized in an expandable linear element with K-6th grade on the lower floors and higher education classrooms on the upper floors. The interior materials are modern with a natural focus. Walls are clad in a mix of wood tones and birch branches encapsulated in resin. This durable material creates a welcoming environment rather than an institutional feel. Exposed glulam beams in classrooms and the use of saturated colors generates a sense of energy and inspiration for students. The outdoor play areas offer a place for the community to come together to enjoy a game of basketball as well as interact on the play structure for the younger community members. Common metal roofing and siding materials reflect a simple and utilitarian approach.