Division 4, Inc.
Blue Jay Glaze
In 2011, in collaboration with the New Tech Network, the entire Winton Woods City School District moved to a project-based learning (PBL) curriculum, making it one of the first school districts in the country to embrace PBL from preschool through 12th grade. Initially, the district's outdated facilities couldn't accommodate the depth of instruction and engagement that PBL requires. A plan to consolidate the district's six buildings into two campuses — one for grades 1-6 and one for grades 7-12. Winton Woods retained SHP to guide the invested parties through community engagement, educational visioning, and the architectural design processes.
The two new Winton Woods campuses represent more than just a new home for the Warriors. They are physical embodiments of a journey to dramatically rethink how education is delivered within an urban school system. The North campus comprises a 248,000-square-foot building that serves 1,600 students in grades 7 through 12. Meanwhile, the 206,000-square-foot South campus serves 1,600 elementary school students in grades 1-6 but can accommodate up to 1,900 students as the district grows.
Students' voice is a vital element of PBL. As such, the district and SHP recognized the students themselves were in the unique position of having particularly relevant and creative insights into how their new learning spaces could best support their learning. Students, therefore, became a critical part of the design process.
Jeff Parker, Architect and Director of Visioning, says using Belden Glazed Brick was the best product to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome for the project, along with ease of construction and quality control during construction. “The advantage of using the Belden Glazed Brick was that we know the quality is there. We understand that the product will be what we expect it to be, and we also know they will work with us on the colors,” said Jeff.
The schools are nearly identical in design, ensuring consistent experiences as students travel between campuses. Color played an essential role in this part of the design. The colorful and clever composition supports the community’s history and boldly identifies the single-story space within the main entrance of the Warrior's new home. “The campuses are designed in such a way that working together is a must, and the environment alone has had a real positive impact on all our students,” said Anthony Smith, Superintendent of Winton Woods City Schools.
“We were wrestling with how to arrange these colors to make them equal, to make them each important to celebrate the history of the districts, and we are frankly stumped,” said Jeff.
“And I was sitting at my desk one afternoon, and for some reason, the movie The Matrix came to mind and that scene where all the ones and zeros are trickling down the screen. And so we pulled that up and took a screenshot of that, and we applied that to our 3D model, and we thought that could work. We then created a colored pattern that reflected these colors, and we shared it with the client, and of course, they fell in love with it right away, and the rest is history.”
Using simple colors for these essential functions creates a fun, memorable image not found in education architecture design while establishing a powerful branded image.
General Contractor: Skanska USA and Megen Construction
Masonry Contractor: Combs & Weisbrod Masonry Inc. and Jess Hauer Masonry Inc.
Brick Distributor: Division 4, Inc.
Photography: Todd Biss Productions