Location
1375 Missouri Ave NW

Client
Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School

Service Type

Project Type

Size
Renovation: 12,200 sf
Addition: 7,100 sf Addition

Completion
2009

The Latin American Montessori Bilingual School (LAMB) objective is to create a new school that inspires and promotes positive learning experiences for children of diverse cultural backgrounds through the enhancement of their learning environment.

A “deep dive” – an intensive workshop to gather important flow information diagramming a child’s school day from beginning to end – launched the project. From where do parents drive? What roads will they take? Where will they park? Will they drop children off or come inside? What security is needed? This session to identify common goals and to explore differences of opinions included parents, teachers, and school administrators. An understanding of the program needs and adjacencies and a bond among the group resulted. This provided a great foundation of understanding and partnership.

There was a desire to embrace the Latin American cultural influence within the school while being careful not to overwhelm or alienate other groups. This was done in subtle ways through color analysis and research to respect the Montessori philosophy of natural peaceful tones for classrooms while sprinkling cobalt, mangos, and ocean blues in the public and administrative areas. A floor design in the main corridor is from a Latin American children’s song, “Aserrin, Asseran”. The notes were plotted on a grid and the rhythm was measured along the melody to create a pattern. This floor pattern becomes part of the “story of the school” as new parents and teachers tour the building and become acquainted with the school philosophy and layout.

General Program Elements

Classrooms, science room, community room for theater performances and lunchroom seating, a commercial kitchen, new infrastructure and building systems to support both buildings

Sustainable Elements

Environmentally-responsible “green” roof on lower roof (visible to classroom and library) and upper roof; sustainable finishes such as linoleum and low VOC paint; reuse of existing historic structure