COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN STUDIO
The core of this design is based upon the conceptual idea of laying on a hillside, daydreaming in the shadow of a tree. By following this ideal, the courtyard school creates a peaceful sense of isolation from the activity of the surrounding city.
This courtyard school on the eastern edge of Downtown Kansas City is buried into a bluff overlooking the West Bottoms and Missouri River. This strong interaction with the site allows the roof to become a large community garden and park space, encouraging the school to become a social gathering point for the community. A minimal footprint on the site was desired in order to maximize useable green space for the students and neighborhood, in effect creating an extension of the public park to the north.
The layering of the building programs creates an assortment of usable outdoor spaces for the students, most specifically playdecks for each of the upper classes. The way that the programmatic spaces flow across various boundaries is best shown by the two artificial slopes in the center of the courtyard. The large slope houses the school’s performance hall, including a stage, seating and music room, which provides an evocative space for artistic expression. The green sloping roof above the performance hall would be used as an excellent setting for outdoor play and education.
The natural lighting in the classrooms is supplemented by a series of skylights, placed on the roof and the playdecks. These areas also include planter boxes for the students to grow produce that would then be used as part of their school meals. As part of the Montessori curriculum, the students would be taught how to prepare snacks and meals through practice with their teachers, These classroom cooking lessons would provide a strong foundation for a lifetime of better nutritional practices.
Status: School Project
Location: Quality Hill Neighborhood, Kansas City, MO