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Austin Elementary School

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1953, Caudill Rowlett Scott. 112 W. Ash St.

Edna's most celebrated work of modern architecture was Austin Elementary School, where Caudill Rowlett Scott (CRS) demonstrated their enthusiasm for generating imaginative spatial responses to the problems of post– World War II school design. They employed a grid of steel pipe columns to carry longspan laminated wood girders, whose expressive profile is revealed at the narrow west and east sides of the long, rectangular building. Between the south-facing classrooms were partially roofed garden courts that provided protected outdoor play space, plenty of ambient daylight, and through ventilation by ensuring multiple exposures for all classrooms. The gentle slope of the roof planes represents its conception as an “umbrella” that canopies the classrooms and intervening courtyards. The crispness of CRS's design has been compromised by the enclosure of all the courtyards for additional classrooms (these are marked by single-bay spandrels beneath the windows), replacement of all the original windows with aluminum sash glazed with reflective glass, and the paneling of many of the glass bands to keep natural light out of the classrooms.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.

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