Chartwell School

One Numa Watson Road
Seaside, California

  • Architect: EHDD
  • Contractor: Ausonio Incorporated
  • Developer: Chartwell School
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Exterior photo of completed project
Credit: Michael David Rose

A high-performance design, created through close collaboration, transformed this classroom building into a teaching tool about building construction.

Chartwell School was founded in 1983 to advance the education of dyslexic children. For this new facility, completed more than twenty years later, we collaborated with architects EHDD to create a living laboratory that would illuminate how buildings are assembled and make the most of the school's limited resources.

The building’s exposed framing reveals its fundamental structure while additional measures were taken to increase material and cost savings. Fine tuning of the architecture and the structural module, and precise detailing throughout, reduced by thirty percent the total amount of wood required. This savings allowed for the use of sustainably grown FSC-certified lumber. Seventy percent of the cement in the concrete was replaced with slag (an industrial byproduct), thus greatly reducing both the natural resources used and the building’s carbon footprint. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) used in the roof further reduced the amount of lumber while providing for high insulation performance.

Research for the building materials was supported by a Kresge Foundation grant. The building was the first school in the U.S. to receive a LEED Platinum certification.





Executed as Tipping Mar