The program and conceptual plan for this childcare center for 180 children, ages infant through five years, was developed together with an owner team, prior to their hiring a childcare provider.
The plan is conceived as a series of rectangles that align with the grid of the master plan of the campus and then begin to dissolve into the wooded site at the campus edge. The 20,000 sf of the center is broken into smaller volumes to be more at the scale of the child. Fingers of landscape weave between these volumes, knitting the classrooms to nature, daylight, and fresh air. The splayed volumes step up gently to the south, following the natural grade and allowing direct connections to the site and adjacent play areas at each level. Glass enclosed art/science and multipurpose shared spaces create a transparent central spine open to both the interior and the site. Ramps weave up through the central axis to create an unfolding spatial sequence continually linking the child back to the site and the community spaces of the center in new ways, provoking curiosity and learning and encouraging exploration. The fractured roof forms bring in light from above, mimicking the forested condition of the site. Large areas of glass in all of the rooms provide natural daylight, reducing the need for electric light and connecting the child to the daily cycle of the sun. The placement of operable windows throughout the building promotes natural ventilation, reducing the need for conditioned air.
The project is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)