2014 Committee on Architecture for Education Design Excellence Award
Two Virginia mid-century schools are transformed into a cutting-edge, holistic learning environment for K-5 students with the aim to promote connectivity, creativity, health, and well-being. Evidence-based healthy design principles – integrated in the campus landscape and co-created by the client, architect, and a team of public health researchers – promote healthy eating, nutrition education, physical activity, and well-being as a response to the national childhood obesity epidemic. The campus works to unlock the health and learning potential of 21st-century students while fostering design-research partnerships that re-define sustainability, human health, and professional collaboration.
This project successfully revitalizes an existing learning environment through adaptive re-use and thoughtful expansion. Building on the momentum of shifting public health policy, this is an excellent example of research-based design that inspires students to be healthy. Beautifully conceived and thoroughly documented, the revitalized school weaves together new spatial experiences, best practices for high performance classrooms and sustainable learning strategies to create a transformative educational experience. The “Foodsmart Kids” concept takes a fresh approach to the issue of child obesity. The new dining space is truly inspiring, both in terms of the nutrition it provides and the engaging setting it creates. The transformation of the corridors as collaboration spaces and the incorporation of outdoor spaces adjacent to the classrooms are successful features. The design avoids ‘playwashing’ and creates engaging spaces for children without being childish.
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