Studio Kremer Architects

Studio Kremer Architects

Louisville, KY


Marnel C Moorman School

When Shelby County Schools decided to build a new school to address county growth, they pursued a combined middle / elementary school and introduced a new kind of learning environment matched to their peer-to-peer presentation and project-based learning culture. In addition to modifying the classroom environment, it was critical that public areas – outdoor spaces, lobby, media center, gym, cafeteria, and corridors – were designed to serve as collaborative learning spaces. 

A master plan was drafted, coordinating the position of the school with an existing high school, athletics fields, cross country route, and bus staging, and accommodating a future adjacent elementary school. Attention was given to approach, traffic separation, maximized educational use of exterior spaces, and integration of storm water management areas with the geothermal wellfield.

The school was organized by grades into discreet “neighborhoods”. Each is set up as a learning community with classrooms grouped around a collaborative space – a “collabora-dor’ – all with overhead doors so that class activities can flow between spaces. On public presentation nights, all doors are opened so that a neighborhood functions as a single zone for students to showcase their work.

Design for pragmatic security and supervision needs achieved other goals: Compartmentalization of zones for intruder lockdowns and fire separations align well with the neighborhood structure. Need for instructor oversight of students in collaborative spaces without interruption of instruction led to an individual restrooms solution, thereby allowing for gender-neutrality (without controversy).

Spaces between neighborhoods include amphitheater-like presentation spaces and a gallery space. Informal spaces for perching, sitting, studying, discussing, and making are situated throughout. Every space has been examined and designed for maximum collaborative learning potential. 

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Status: Built
Location: Shelbyville KY