Chartwell School

Seaside, California, USA

Building sustainable paths to success

The shared vision for the new Chartwell School campus was to create an exceptional, high-performance learning environment for children with learning variations. The result of a collaborative effort between users and the EHDD design team is a campus that takes full advantage of its hillside site overlooking Monterey Bay, integrates proven strategies to improve learning, and functions as a teaching tool about sustainability – all while dramatically reducing environmental impacts.

The school's design enhances learning by making wayfinding intuitive, clean, and aesthetically pleasing. The facility is organized around two connected courtyards with outdoor circulation space. Shapes and forms underscore the ideals of play, study, and collaborative learning. The building accommodates active spaces, quiet spaces for large and small group education, outdoor art spaces, a science garden, and trails through the native coastal oak woodland.

This LEED Platinum building uses photovoltaics to generate as much energy as it consumes – resulting in a zero-energy building. Extensive daylight monitoring ensures that every room in the school is fully day-lit, so virtually no electric lighting is needed. Additionally, rainwater collected in a cistern onsite is the main water source for the school.


Size : 21,000 sq. ft.

Completion : October 2006

2009 Livable Buildings Award

 Center for the Built Environment, University of California, Berkeley

2009 Top Ten Green Building

AIA/Committee on the Environment

2007 Green Apple Award

Collaborative for High-Performance Schools

2007 Honor Award, Energy & Sustainability

AIA San Francisco

2007 Environmental Award

US Environmental Protection Agency

LEED Platinum Certified

US Green Building Council

Net Zero Electrical Building




San Francisco

500 Treat Ave #201
San Francisco, CA 94110

(415) 285-9193