Hunter’s Creek Elementary School

Pfluger Architects designed a new school in Houston that optimizes nature-inspired elements, flexible spaces, and community involvement while preserving the original school’s spirit and charm.

  • area / size 107,686 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • Location Houston, Texas, , United States
  • Since 1954, this school has been the community’s heart, where students form bonds generation after generation. Emotional attachment aside, the district knew it was becoming unfit for current educational practices. The district wanted a fresh design with more opportunity without losing the school’s familiar charm. Students, staff, parents and a close-knit community informed design decisions that established a distinct sense of place. Together, we brought the soul of a 50-year-old building to a replacement campus without compromising scale, community ties or purpose.

    Like the original school, this new design is nature-inspired. Each grade level has direct access to the central courtyard, which provides a unique learning and social environment. The school’s footprint was optimized for the tight site, allowing us to save a majority of the trees around the campus. Additionally, we intentionally designed the school to be welcoming at a scale suitable for its young users.

    Inside, the school’s colorful murals and views to the outdoors combine to spark imaginations and create a vibrant learning environment. The school provides nooks and crannies for smaller group work and larger collaborative spaces for co-teaching opportunities and more interactive lessons. Many of the communal spaces offer large windows to allow natural light and views to enter the learning spaces. These shared spaces are also often used by the community after hours.

    Overall, the district’s goal was to improve the learning environment while keeping the school’s spirit. This new school was designed to support their educational specifications by:
    • Maximizing flexibility and minimizing standardization — to adapt quickly to evolving learning ecosystems.
    • Providing space for teachers to grow as well as students — because empowering extraordinary people expands the potential for both students and employees.
    • Enhancing community involvement — to strengthen the relationship between parents, educators, district leaders and staff who provide customized student support.
    • Ensuring a resilient foundation by meeting students’ needs and being efficient.

    Design: Pfluger Architects
    Contractor: Brookstone LP
    Photography: Mariella & Luis Ayala