The architect of record teamed up with a Boston childcare
design expert to create a facility that explicitly educates and
stimulates children through its design. Corridors mimicking
the Snake River, create a ‘family-room’ concept with gently
curving walls and becomes a destination place serving as a
transitional space for parents and children; a play space
during inclement weather; and an alternate teaching space
with alcoves of learning. The ‘family-room’ opens into
private rooms designed with multilevel spaces and play
areas that provide places of changing scale that benefit
young children and allow flexibility. All spaces within the
building are visually open so that children can easily be seen
for both educational and security reasons. The interior’s
design concepts are also enhanced by large glass expanses
and clerestory windows that welcome ample natural light
accompanied by good solar orientation and beautiful views.
An innovative playground provides separate areas for
activities and age groups and stimulates creativity with
interactive play structures. In addition, paths created in the
wetlands educate children about the environment.
The Rammed Earth wall at the entry acts as a thermal mass
wall and sets up a datum line pointing toward the majestic
peaks of the Grand Teton. Porch overhangs create covered
outdoor space and shade the hot summer sun, while
allowing the desirable penetration of winter sun.
Utilizing iconic design motifs such as beaver slides, ranch
outbuildings, and slatted fence lines for inspiration, the
building is broken down into smaller masses that reference
the ranch like setting and residential neighborhood.
Sensitive to its residential environment, as well as the
natural environment, the building achieved a LEED Gold
rating by using a ground source heat pump, thermal mass
rammed earth walls, recycled and low maintenance
materials, and a computerized system that efficiently
controls natural daylighting and artificial light.