Austin ISD Sánchez Elementary School Modernization

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Project Details

A significant challenge in the renovation of George I. Sánchez Elementary was to create a modern learning environment that embraced the community’s historic roots and values in a meaningful way  Just east of IH-35 in downtown Austin, this neighborhood school required an inclusive design that celebrated its bilingual Spanish-English culture; reconciled historic East-West disparities; and incorporated the community’s voiced values of equity, flexibility, and connectivity.

This theme of duality informed the design concept and resulted in a reconfigured circulation spine connecting the communal gathering spaces – Dining, Fitness, Learning Stair, Library – and extends outward to culminate in welcoming canopies at the East and West entries.  The motif of a double-headed snake, symbolizing growth and transformation, is manifested through undulating, banded slats which wrap the communal spaces and extends through the roof – a striking serpentine “billboard” promoting the school.  Strategic use of colors, patterns and textures add richness on a tight budget.


  • Texas Architect Magazine, May/June 2022
  • School Construction News, April 2022