Harney County Head Start

Burns, Oregon

The Head Start Early Childhood Center in Burns serves families throughout the largest county in the State of Oregon. This project replaces an inadequate facility with a new, sustainably designed building that includes five classrooms, a playground landscape, meeting facilities and staff support. 

The classrooms are open and simple with small subspaces along the edges that allow good visibility for teachers while creating flexible settings for activities. All the classrooms face south for optimal daylighting and passive heating, and each opens directly on to the playground. Radiant floor heating and natural ventilation work to create a comfortable, quiet, energy-efficient place for learning. 

Additional lighting controls give teachers the option to create “pools of light” rather than one large, uniformly lit space. Reflected, balanced natural light eliminates the need for the typical classroom fluorescent lighting. Careful color choices and a calming architectural order combined with good light and fresh air to create an environment that is good for kids, staff, and the community.

2009 AIA/SWO Design Award Submission