A Safe, Calm Learning Environment
Jim Tangeman Center
The Jim Tangeman Center (previously Fir Grove) provides a specialized educational program for students grades 1 through 12, focusing on emotional and behavioral self-regulation. In a typical year, enrollment in this program fluctuates between 50 and 100 students in classes of 10 or less. The school aims to provide a safe, trauma-informed, and interactive campus that allows students to focus on meeting both learning and development goals in a positive environment.
Vancouver Public Schools
Total Square footage
Central design considerations are safety and environmental control, which we addressed by paying very careful attention to user flow, light, and acoustic quality. For a small building with only 10 classrooms, we set out to accomplish a uniquely distributed design with appropriate spatial divisions between students across grade levels.
To help facilitate controlled interactions between students and provide spaces for de-escalation, we focused on designing a mixture of spaces that provide both privacy and acoustic separation. At the same time, these spaces needed to be flexible and multi-purpose driven, allowing for individual and group interactions to seamlessly transition into one another.
In order to make the building itself user-friendly, planned circulation routes allow for a comfortable flow of movement between classes and events. This is all aimed to set staff and students up for success, while creating an environment that is inspiring and fun.
To minimize the visual and auditory distractions across the school, we equipped classes with translucent skylights with motorized shades, similar to the exterior windows, for occupant control of light levels.