The Site

It’s time to analyze the city block that contains the school and grounds. What kind of topography and views exist? What things are working well, and which things need to be changed? Where are key elements like sports fields and play equipment currently sited?

Site Characteristics

There are specific physical characteristics that make up each individual site, and it is important to understand these characteristics and how they will relate to future designs. Below you will find some key questions, along with diagrams depicting different site conditions.

As you work through these questions, document your site through drawing, writing, and plenty of photographs. Use this worksheet as a starting point to help you document your site.

What is the topography of your school?

  • Flat site – there is no perceptible sloping of the ground from one area of the site to another


  • Sloping site – the school building may be located at a low or high point, and the ground slopes gently from one end to the other


  • Terraced site – the school building may be located on a low, middle, or high terrace. Due to a steeply sloping site, the school grounds will be broken into a series of terraced “steps”


What are the existing views?

  • Mountain views – are local mountains visible from any areas of the school ground? These may be close by, or located a great distance away


  • Surrounding residential – is the school surrounded by single family homes, or apartment buildings?

kys_surrounding res

  • Forest views – are the school grounds surrounded on one (or more) sides by forest?


  • Water views


  • Commercial/industrial views


Where are the main elements currently located?

Use the appropriate blank diagram (flat, sloping, or terraced) in the worksheet, and map out your own site.