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Bronze Award: Garfield High School, Seattle, Wash.

September 01, 2009 |
The proscenium was rebuilt after an interstitial floor housing the library was removed. The library was relocated to the former gymnasium space.

Renovations to Seattle's historic Garfield High School focused mainly on restoring the 85-year-old building's faded beauty and creating a more usable and modern interior.

The 243,000-sf school (whose alumni include the impresario Quincy Jones) was so functionally inadequate that officials briefly considered razing it. But concerned stakeholders—including administrators, teachers, students, and community members—instead pushed for a massive renovation and wound up serving on the School Design Team. BD+C Renovation Awards judges were particularly impressed with the community's involvement in the $87 million overhaul.

For BLRB Architects of Tacoma, Wash., the Seattle office of Heery International (GC and CM), and the School Design Team, the project's biggest achievements include:

  • Converting the former auditorium into a social commons by demolishing an interstitial floor built in the '60s to house the library and reclaiming its three-story volume.

  • Rebuilding the ornate proscenium that was removed from around the stage when the '60s library cut the space in half.

  • Constructing a new 84,000-sf gymnasium and performing arts center.

—Jay W. Schneider, Senior Editor

                          New library in the former gymnasium. Door to the glass computer room was the school 

                          New 84,000-sf gymnasium and performing arts center shown at left in photo.

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