CREATIVE LEARNING ACADEMY IS GROWING

We are proud to partner with Creative Learning Academy – celebrating its 50th year – on a 14,300 sf new middle school building. Catering to their truly progressive, multi-faceted curriculum, Caldwell Associates developed this new facility as part of a 20-year Master Plan to transform their campus from its original design to provide dynamic learning spaces integrating classroom instruction, collaborative learning, and outdoor activity. Bound by the limits of a small site and needing to maintain operations during this transformation, the new middle school is sited at the rear of the property and will become the defining terminal building enclosing a future campus green. Programming for the building was centered around creating highly modular and flexible spaces with a strong emphasis on access to the outdoors and collaborative learning. Approaching the building, this design strategy is on display by having a two story outdoor learning space that serves as the main entrance to the building. This space is also accessible through large glass garage doors from two specialized learning labs – one on each floor. On the first floor is the Design Lab – a kind of maker space supporting hands on learning, and on the second floor is the Commons which is at once a social gathering space, library, and discovery center. Ten additional classrooms support core learning subjects such as history, english, math, and foreign language with each having breakout areas for smaller group learning. The progressive curriculum focusing on collaborative learning across disciplines was translated into a design concept for the building – conceived of as a hybrid structural framework with modular components “inserted” into it that optimize both flexibility and modularity – however, rather than thinking of it a simple grid with objects inserted into each bay like an ice cube tray, it is more of a varied spatial matrix – a kind of madras of colors and spaces that blend across the grid – much like the students using aspects of one subject to inform an entirely different subject. The colors of the individual panels and components play off the structure of the grid – shifting to create more of a diverse visual and spatial identity representative of the unique curriculum that Creative Learning Academy has grown so successful at offering.