Shiwi Ts’ana Elementary School in Zuni, New Mexico faced a unique challenge of combining two older schools into one, while improving facilities, promoting sustainability, and protecting the local cultural heritage of the Zuni Tribe. Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Architecture firm worked closely with the district, attended community events, teachers, and staff to understand the unique cultural and operational priorities as well as ease concerns of consolidation. Products were chosen for the school which would provide energy efficiency, flexibility and durability, and facilitate community activities.
Shiwi Ts’ana Elementary School’s entrance faces the majestic view of Dowa Yalanne (Corn Mountain), a culturally and historically significant mountain in Zuni. It was important to capture as much of this natural monument indoors as it was to provide a natural and culturally appropriate exterior. Parasoleil partnered with Dekker/Parich/Sabatini Architects to develop a shade system as an architectural element that filters sunlight and creates natural shadows across the façade of the new Shiwi Ts’ana Elementary School building. Parasoleil panels were cut in ¼” aluminum and powder coated with their proprietary Copper Foil finish. The pattern chosen was Quiet Wood, which casts shadows similar to those of trees in a forest. The combination of materials, pattern, and finish ensured a durable, yet natural solution to providing shade around the glass entrance of the building.