with Natalye Appel + Associates Architects and Energy Architects
We began our work for the Woods High School with a series of site investigations, site analysis, and site designs that explored the relationship of building form and orientation to the surrounding environment and to the curriculum. Several rectangular bars are organized around one large internal space. This central community space provides a large naturally lit environment for the gathering of students, independent studying, and performances. A linear bar on the north edge contains classrooms with direct access to the exterior. Public functions are strung along the south edge of the community space, providing a buffer between the street and the interior learning environment. The multipurpose room located to the west blocks out undesirable views and shields the main building from the hot afternoon sun. The east end of the building is open to allow for future expansion and a current connection to outdoor spaces.
The Montessori curriculum encourages the students to be involved in the world and their community. The operation of the building systems, the impact of the building on the environment and the connection of interior spaces to exterior spaces are designed to allow for legibility and teaching opportunities. This project is one of only a few Montessori high schools in this country. The school encourages the students to be aware of their connection to the world and this project provides a unique opportunity for the students to understand that relationship directly.