Manassas Park Elementary School and Prekindergarten: Manassas Park, VA

Nature as the Teacher

Prakash Patel and VMDO Architects

This Manassas Park, Va., school engages students to be stewards of their own environment by highlighting sustainable building systems and by bringing the natural environment indoors. A ground-source heat pump system and natural ventilation help conserve energy, while a bioretention area that doubles as an outdoor classroom helps prevent runoff. Harvested rainwater is used for toilet flushing and irrigation. Classrooms are organized into three three-story “academic houses,” which optimize daylight and minimize building envelope exposure.

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