Valhalla Elementary School27847 42nd Avenue S.
Auburn, WA 98001
Design Achievement - Opened in September 2009, the new Valhalla Elementary School is one of four replacement elementary schools for Federal Way School District. Focused on flexibility, the school is organized using adjustable components within an elastic framework. Many interior and even some exterior walls are intentionally arranged to be removed without significant work, enabling reconfiguration and expansion over time. Interior spaces are designed to be nonspecific, easily modified and adaptable to evolving curricula and population needs. Without a conventional corridor, the school is planned instead around a set of large, shared spaces, including the social commons and literacy commons. These commons are gracefully connected, following the topography and flowing one into the other by a gently sloping walkway.
Scope Summary - The new two-story, 54,000 square foot Valhalla Elementary occupies an open, level site and serves 520 students. The design carefully preserves the natural surroundings, enhancing student learning and stewardship by building connections between people and environment. Driving ideas behind the architectural expression included designing a lively intersection of formal learning and wild creativity; crafting a school that could be easily adapted to changing needs on daily, monthly, yearly, and longer timelines; and creating something immediately recognizable as a place that’s human, fun, and playful. DLR Group provided architecture, engineering and planning services.