Light was the primary organizing device for this new junior high school. This medium is manipulated by narrow east-west slots that bisect an otherwise monolithic volume. Throughout the day, the changing daylight further subdivides two-story spaces into smaller learning communities while satisfying functional lighting needs. All classrooms front the slots with large movable glass doors, activating the common space and fostering interdisciplinary and intergrade-level collaboration. The result is an architecture that encourages—rather than reacts to—21st century learning models that promote small groups, interdisciplinary curricula and hands-on learning.
The building resembles a series of loosely connected forms, similar to vertebrae. This prototype provides clear, open sight lines as well as clarity in wayfinding for students, staff and visitors. It provides a built-in security measure, allowing for each section to be segregated from the others in case of emergency. Direct connectivity between all adjacent classrooms allows for multiple means of egress from any one space. This diagram is emphasized through the building’s material make-up, with brick composing the ‘hard exterior shell’ and wood identifying the faces of each of the four, 2-story slots. The wood paneling is continuous from interior to exterior, and is further manipulated to provide acoustical absorption where required.
AIA Kansas City, Merit Award for Design Excellence, 2010
AIA Kansas, Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture, 2010
AIA Kansas, Excellence in Masonry Award, 2010
AIA Central States Region, Citation for Excellence in Architecture, 2008
AIA Kansas, Citation for Unbuilt Commissioned Architecture, 2007
Michael Spillers, Photographer
Kelly Dreyer, Gould Evans