Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen

GLEN LAKE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Mathison | Mathison Architects

PHOTOGRAPHS
Jason Keen

CATEGORY
Schools

AREA
4000 ft²

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT + CIVIL ENGINEER
Gosling Czubak Engineering

LOCATION
Maple City, United States

INTERIOR DESIGN
Mathison | Mathison Architects

DESIGN PRINCIPAL
Evan Mathison

PRINCIPAL IN CHARGE
Tom Mathison

MANUFACTURERS
Sherwin-williams, Corian, Fórmica, Michigan Certified Concrete

YEAR
2021

GENERAL CONTRACTOR
The Christman Company

PROJECT COORDINATOR
Matt Mcdonald

PROJECT ARCHITECT
Jeff Montague

Glen Lake Community Schools (GLCS) is located on 110 acres in northern Michigan, an area well-known for its natural beauty. Because the existing site lacked competition tennis courts, students had to use courts in other districts – as the “visitor” team. The softball and soccer fields were distant from the locker rooms, making them inconvenient.

Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen
Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen

These factors resulted in a project scope comprised of three components: home and visitor team locker room buildings for softball and soccer adjacent to the existing fields; a new 8-court tennis complex; and a gateway building to control admission to the football stadium and to provide storage for the tennis complex.

A primary design goal involved creating a common, practical aesthetic for all buildings that would visually unite them across an expanse of many acres. As a member of Michigan Green Schools, GLCS is dedicated to achieving environmental goals through good ecological practices and teaching environmental principles.

Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen
Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen

As a result, high-performance and sustainable design were clear priorities. The design process began with a site circulation and orientation study for each building to understand natural entry and focal points for intuitive wayfinding, and to maximize natural light, views, sheltered gathering spaces, and future solar arrays.

Although the property is large, the undulating topography and existing field locations offered only small, irregular sites for the buildings.

Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen
Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen

The site planning also needed to accommodate new septic fields, stormwater retention, and connection to remote water and electric services, while retaining existing tree groves wherever possible.

The buildings are positioned to maximize convenient site circulation and access for athletes and spectators, while also offering shelter in all weather. The use of natural light and natural materials provides a distinct aesthetic, representational of Glen Lake and Michigan’s north woods.

Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen
Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen

The intentional use of wood as structural and finish materials was key in achieving designs that are welcoming and visually connected with the forested surroundings. It also sets an important precedent for the character and design of future buildings on site.

Wood ceilings, exterior paneling, integrated wood benches, and glulam beams work together in a simple palette that help lift the design from a “utilitarian” structure to a community asset. Split-face and burnished concrete block walls provide a low-maintenance solution to building exteriors.

Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen
Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen

The team buildings feature low-sloping, overlapping roofs, creating a large, protected area. The buildings include training rooms, officials’ locker rooms, student-athlete facilities, and convenient public restrooms. The gateway/ticket building frames an important visual entry to the football field.

The entry plaza, with integrated bench seating, promotes gathering before and after games. The general orientation of the long axis of the buildings enhances daylighting and shading strategies to minimize glare and solar heat gain.

Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen
Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen

Because these buildings so closely reflect the cultural and environmental goals of Glen Lake, it is likely that these projects will be respected as worthy representatives and retained as examples of the community worth retaining for the future.

In this way, the design of these buildings provides multiple benefits across social, economic, and environmental lines.

Glen Lake Community Schools
© Jason Keen


Glen Lake Community Schools
Plan - Site