Renton Secondary Learning Center Wins Grand Prize
The Spring 2014 edition of The American School Board Journal’s Learning By Design Awards honored NAC’s design of the Renton Secondary Learning Center with a Grand Prize. The Secondary Learning Center in Renton, Washington, is an alternative grades 7-12 school designed as an integrated, project-based learning environment that allows learners to develop at their most effective pace. The jury praised the use of the building itself as a learning tool, noting the clear plan with effective adjacencies and visual and physical student/teacher communication throughout. One juror called the building, “interesting and innovative, with an effective use of color for wayfinding, as well as serious environmental features,” including photovoltaic panels, solar hot-water heating, displacement ventilation and radiant heat, rainwater harvesting and non-potable dual-flush toilets, and a ground-source heat pump.
Ron van der Veen Joins NAC|Architecture as Principal
Ron van der Veen, AIA, LEED AP, has joined NAC|Architecture as Principal Architect. He has provided design leadership for innovative, award-winning projects across the United States, with emphasis on higher education facilities, student housing and sustainability. Ron has 29 years of experience in architecture and is a LEED Accredited Professional. At NAC|Architecture, he will lead higher education and student housing projects and provide specialized expertise throughout all NAC|Architecture offices.

Ron is a founding board member for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and was an active member of AASHE’s development committee in the creation of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) for College campuses. He has conducted presentations nationally on green design topics such as Biophilia, high performance buildings and sustainable master planning.

“NAC|Architecture is extremely fortunate to have Ron join our team, and I’m elated about our future together,” says Dana Harbaugh, Principal with NAC|Architecture. “His sheer talent, specialized knowledge, and astounding portfolio will be of tremendous benefit to clients. Furthermore, Ron is a collaborative, passionate designer with whom our clients will enjoy working.”

Ron earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon in 1981, before continuing his studies in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Prior to joining NAC|Architecture Ron was a principal at DLR Group and a partner at Mithun. He is also a regular columnist for ARCADE  magazine, an artist and the drummer for a local Seattle rock band.
Carl Sandburg Elementary School Featured
Architectural Record's January 2014 K-12 Schools Building Types Study features Carl Sandburg Elementary School in Kirkland, Washington. Designed by NAC|Architecture and completed in 2012, the 66,580 square-foot replacement school was planned and built on a fully occupied site. The environmental commitment of the school is celebrated on the exterior façade with a 10kW photovoltaic array that is integrated with steel sun-shading elements on the south and east facades.

With a focus on preserving and enhancing the park-like feel of the site, Carl Sandburg Elementary School creates various opportunities for indoor/outdoor learning environments. Most of the classroom neighborhoods are focused on a grove of 70-year-old Bigleaf maples, with multiple outdoor learning spaces. Each three- to four-classroom neighborhood is organized around an open shared learning area, small group rooms, and teacher planning areas. Transparency between spaces expands the classroom, allowing small and large group activities to occur in the adjacent shared areas. This arrangement encourages the development of numerous 21st Century skills enabling students to work alone, collaborate, work on projects, and make presentations.
NAC|Architecture among Architect magazine’s Top 50 Firms
In their fifth annual ranking, Architect magazine recently announced the top 50 architecture firms in the United States, with NAC|Architecture listed 45th. Firms were ranked in business, sustainability and design categories.

This was a particularly outstanding year for us in the sustainability category, having been ranked 18th out of the 152 firms that qualified to participate in the ranking. NAC|Architecture designed over 80% of our work in 2012 to LEED standards.
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