GDBS is currently constructing its design for a steel-frame pavilion at McReynolds Middle School in Houston's Fifth Ward neighborhood. The Solar Shade Tree project will provide a sun-protected teaching and outdoor learning environment of approximately 400 square feet under roof and trellis with an extended learning space under the shelter of indigenous trees and landscape elements. The project will serve as an opportunity for outdoor education as well as provide a gathering place for the community using the adjacent soccer fields through collaboration with the SPARK Park program.
Through its design, the project demonstrates to students alternative energy technologies and green building practices not commonly found in their neighborhood. The incorporation of solar powered fans and lights, locally available deck materials, and the creation of a rain garden all reduce the project's ecological footprint. By creating a small footprint while allowing significant passive and active learning opportunities, the Solar Shade Tree contributes to an essential educational lesson in environmental impact.
Situated in a prominent corner of a large, open soccer complex at the south end of the campus, the Solar Shade Tree creates an educational and social anchor in an otherwise un-differentiated landscape.