The 342,000 square foot Mountainside High School is a comprehensive secondary school for 2,200 students set on 47 acres of rural land in Beaverton, OR. Made possible by one of the largest bonds in Oregon history, the school is the cornerstone of a new neighborhood about 15 miles from downtown Portland. The protection of existing wetlands, combined with the land required for multiple athletic fields, constrained the building’s footprint and reinforced the idea of a compact school with a communal center.
The school’s defining concept is a loop, stacking instead of spreading the program and linking nearly all formal and informal academic spaces. Community space including the gym, theatre and commons, are located close to the front door to ease access, streamline wayfinding, and enliven the entrance with frequent and varied activity. Classrooms benefit from the abundant natural light afforded by their position along the exterior wall.
The loop forms a generous courtyard at the heart of the school, which functions as outdoor classroom space and an extension of the commons. Taking advantage of existing site topography, the courtyard opens to the south and is edged by cascading storm water treatment facilities, creating an educational display of one of the school’s many sustainable design features.
The brick exterior is made more expressive by a custom variegated pattern comprised of five different colors and textures of brick arranged in a gradient that shifts from darker tones near the bottom to lighter at the top of the wall. In contrast to these traditionally-hued, horizontally-laid bricks, large vertically-stacked bricks in a parchment hue define the school entrance and central courtyard. Alternating between glazed and unglazed finishes, they add brightness to exterior communal areas.
Frequently opened for community events and doubling as an emergency shelter, Mountainside boldly projects a forward-thinking design that creates a long-term civic asset for one of the Portland region’s fastest growing districts.
Pacific Habitat Services
PAE Consulting Engineers
The Shalleck Collaborative