Iowa City CSD, North Central Junior High

The school district committed to sustainability for this Junior High facility and charged the team to optimize learning environments, reduce operating costs, and incorporate sustainable materials and principles without increasing cost. The challenge began with the site: a nearby development threatened to staunch the site’s wetland water source. North of the building is a small prairie and wooded area. With consulting biologists, the team crafted habitat restoration practices for students, families, and local organizations. Pervious paving and bioswales minimize stormwater run-off at parking areas. Way-fnding is straightforward and intuitive, making the Junior High feel much smaller than its 82,000-sf. The building’s fve rows of sawtooth monitors espouse sustainability as they cut into the skyline. Their clerestories usher daylight into second story classrooms. Natural light is optimized, indoor air quality is superior, and the building reduces maintenance and operating costs with minimal environmental impact. Previously-fred “B-grade” local bricks on the exterior provide a design feature suggestive of the region’s layered bedrock.

Project Type



North Liberty, Iowa


82,250 SF




2006 AIA Iowa Sustainable Design Award
2007 American School & University Design Award