While data, rubrics, and guidelines are measuring the effect of healthy design measures on the Buckingham community, an equally important indicator of health and well-being is the emotional – and related academic – development of Buckingham students.
At every scale and surface, the design of the school campus strives to tap into the inherent intelligence and natural wonder of students in order to inspire a sense of well-being and a love of learning. The building works to make ‘all things seem possible’ by rendering educational moments visible and celebrating learning in all its diverse forms and expressions.
In the schools’ academic areas, educational opportunities spill outwards from classrooms into corridors, where small-group study stations transform circulation pathways into child-centric “learning streets.” These spaces are intimately scaled with soft seating and fun colors that help activate thought and play throughout the school day.
Special kid-centric moments abound in formerly over-looked areas: space beneath the library stairway is transformed into a quiet reading area; light-filled reading nooks are carved into library and classroom walls; the dining commons serves as “one big classroom” themed on food-based education; and inspirational quotations and educational graphics spark learning moments in the most unexpected places – on walls, doors, and floors.
Natural daylight and the color palette were carefully considered and modulated to express nearby natural contexts, such as a pine and oak forest habitat, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and small-scale garden courtyards. Inside, the color palette is integral to reinforcing grade-level identity, enhancing indoor-outdoor connections, communicating wayfinding techniques, and promoting psychological health and wellbeing. Outside, grade-level appropriate gardens and play terraces encourage place-based learning and engagement with nature.
The campus’ learning environment is enriched by:
- Abundant natural daylight
- Carefully chosen materials and textures that emphasize the sensory nature of learning
- Flexible furniture that accommodates student movement and allows for rapid configuration
- A playful color palette that expresses surrounding natural contexts and inspires imagination and reflection during the school day
- A comprehensive signage package that renders educational moments visible and inspires learning