After an extensive master-planning phase that evaluated the school’s existing 46,000 sf facility, educational program and several adjacent sites, Rogers Park Montessori School decided to build a 13,000 sf addition on their current site.
In order to implement the masterplan, several areas of the existing red-patterned classroom building where reorganized and renovated. The green-patterned gymnasium volume has been transformed into a state-of-the-art flexible theater. While continuing to be used as an athletic facility, the gymnasium’s renovation payed close attention to acoustics, lighting and color, thus fulfilling the client’s desire to optimize the space for each function without sacrificing the other functions. The first floor of the new addition provides a covered drop-off lobby and a completely day-lit music room. The second floor contains most of the new program space: offices, library, dance studio/after school program and the innovative adolescent program. After an intensive design charrette working closely with the staff, students and administration, the adolescent classroom is conceived as a flexible, single classroom zone for 60 students and faculty. We developed an immersive multi layered learning environment where every surface and corner supports the dynamic Montessori teaching philosophy.
As one moves from the original precast building and deeper into the site, the school program progresses in age and experience. A ramp skirts past the green gym/theater volume, culminating at the end of the facility in the adolescent program zone and roof-top learn/play area. The sequence of spaces symbolizes the progression of the children’s academic life in Montessori school and beyond.