Located in Clayton, Missouri, the Wydown neighborhood is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in America. Special care was taken in the design of their new middle school, to meet the strict program requirements, as well as satisfy the requirements of the historic district in which it is located.
The new school was constructed on the existing site in phases to allow all school functions to continue. The Phase 1 classroom component was built on an existing playfield located to the east. Once complete, classroom portion of the original school was demolished, and the new music/dramatic arts, auditorium, and gym components were constructed. The final phase demolished the remaining original structure and a 90+ stall underground parking structure was built with the play fields on the surface.
The floor plan incorporates a central main street which acts as the connector between the classroom and gym/auditorium wings. This light-filled space is enclosed with glass to the north and south, and functions as the dining space, multi-purpose room, and circulation core. The classroom wing’s design is based on the concept of team learning. Each team space is made up of a Math, English, Science, and Social Studies classroom arranged around a central community learning center. A central courtyard separates the two classroom components to maximize daylighting into all classrooms.
This school places a strong emphasis on performing arts. The theatre is designed to seat 500 and is equipped with state of the art theatrical rigging and sound systems. The main theatre is supplemented by a mini stage, which is intended to provide a venue for shorter, small group performances during the school day. Also included as essential components of the program are a green room that doubles as a drama classroom during school hours, dressing rooms, and a scene shop.
The building is designed to deliver superior learning environments while reducing the district’s operational costs. Sustainable initiatives include increased natural daylighting, superior classroom acoustics, and a measurement and verification system that will allow students to monitor energy consumption. Great care was taken to reuse as many materials as possible from the original school building.
Arcturis, Architect of Record