This 15,000 sf school, for 120 children ages 2-8, is conceived as a “one-room schoolhouse.”
The design’s roof planes subtly tilt against one another to let in light from above while allowing the classroom spaces below to be defined without the use of walls. The scheme creates a fragmented reading of the building which reduces the scale of building and makes it more appropriate to the scale of the child.
This project is LEED Certified and treads lightly on the earth while seeking to heighten the students’ sense of relationship with the site. Daylight and views to the site knit the interior space to the exterior. A passive solar design with cross-ventilation minimizes the use of heating and cooling. The school opens to the south to take in solar gain, while louvers on the south and west elevations are used to control the summer sun and dapple and modulate light entering the building. The building’s thickened slab on grade provides a thermal mass which coupled with the building’s orientation to the south allows for the gathering and storage of the sun’s heat in the winter.
The palette of natural and regional materials was selected primarily for its durability and sustainability. Interior finishes are free of volatile compounds to create a learning environment with the best possible air quality. Outdoor covered spaces are extensions of the interior learning spaces. The entry area hosts quiet activities that calm the child upon arrival, acting as a space of mediation between the wings of the building.
The Children’s School received the American School and University William W. Caudill Citation as K-12 Facilities Design Awards, and the Design Share School Design Forum Merit.