Palo Alto Elementary Schools

Held in high regard academically, PAUSD’s buildings are part of a multi-decade program to bring the school system up to standards architecturally. The plan included modernizing and expanding with new high-performance buildings at three elementary schools. Currently, projects at two schools are under way, with three more schools in the planning phase. While certain themes hold true throughout: Daylight, indoor-outdoor space, and natural ventilation, the design for each building is unique for the location to meet student needs and take advantage of a perfect climate for outdoor learning.

Jump to:  Duveneck – Fairmeadow – Ohlone

To view more GPA projects: GPA Projects Map

  • Owner:

    Palo Alto Unified School District

  • Location:

    Palo Alto, CA

  • Completed:

    Duveneck 2014 - Fairmeadow 2013 - Ohlone 2012

  • Size:

    53,947 sq. ft. total





The project provided a two-story classroom building and kindergarten/first grade quad to replace portable classrooms for growing enrollment. The library was relocated and enlarged. Sustainability highlights include daylighting, high-efficiency lighting, natural ventilation and low-emitting materials. Outdoor overhangs allow for children to eat, read, and sit outside for an al fresco classroom in the shade.




Section showing natural stack effect ventilation.





The eight- classroom, two-story addition accommodates more students while maintaining an open field for play. The building creates inviting outdoor space for students on the second story, as well as a covered lunch area. Indoors, these high-performing classrooms have daylight, fresh air and articulated floor plans.


Outdoor reading area and new library reading room

Section showing sustainability features





The project replaced portable classrooms with a beautiful, new two-story building with a living roof, added landscaping, and took advantage of the organic school farm already in place. The building maintains an indoor/outdoor flow, and sits next to the farm to facilitate use of the new science/flex room as a resource.



Section showing sustainability features.