Connectivity: This 3,500 square foot building includes a new aftercare facility, kitchen, and classroom for Pluralistic School 1, an existing private elementary school in Santa Monica known as PS1. Sitting between the school146;s existing buildings and its athletic fields, the structure maximizes the use of its small footprint and unifies the campus with a new circulation system that loops between the classrooms and the open space.
Planning: The Aftercare room on the ground floor provides space for students who stay after normal classroom hours. Including flexibly arranged areas for homework, crafts, and cooking, its location adjacent to the basketball court, soccer field, and general play yard assures easy flow between the various interior and exterior activities. Upstairs, the new classroom with mezzanine, looks west over the fields to catch the ocean breezes and minimize the intrusion of noise from the yards below.
Progressive Values: Throughout the project, structure is exposed so that the students can learn from the logic of construction. It also reinforces the values of openness and clarity that this progressive school promotes. Generous use of windows and skylights creates a naturally ventilated, luminous environment in which students find it easy to concentrate. The project includes no air conditioning system and uses a minimum of energy or artificial lighting.
Directed Play: The exterior of the project is clad in plaster and shiplapped cement board painted in a joyful pattern that draws from the school146;s colors and reflects the sense of directed play that occurs both inside and outside its walls. It has the added attraction of hiding blemishes created by balls and other flying objects.