Over the years The Country School has strived to offer a ‘rural’ setting in the midst of the sprawling development of the city. Its campus has evolved haphazardly since the 1950’s, having accumulated an array of humble building types whose loose organization creates a mix of outside spaces and conditions that The Country School community has come to cherish. MMA was asked to design a master plan for the redevelopment and expansion of their campus, to then be designed and constructed in two or three phases.
A NEW ENTRY INTO AN INFORMAL CAMPUS SETTING
Design of the first phase of expansion began in 2002. It consists of a new Preschool building, an Arts & Activities building, and redevelopment of the site including newly acquired land. Fundamental to the site’s redevelopment is the creation of a new main entrance to the campus and a new central courtyard. The new main entrance framed by both the Arts & Activities building and a new entrance canopy marks the threshold between the external life of the city and the internal life of the school. From this elevated condition, one can orient themselves visually about the campus before proceeding down into the central courtyard. The courtyard will be the central social space and circulation hub for the entire school. It is formed by the play grounds and buildings, and is marked by a dense grove of trees. The new Arts & Activities building responds to the prominent street corner condition of the site providing the public ‘head’ of the campus, and signals also the entry point into the campus. As part of the entry sequence, the Arts & Activities building provides a kind of ‘front porch’ for students and parents during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. Is has been designed to be a simple ‘barn-like’ building allowing for a variety of activities including physical education, dance, music, and as the venue for school events.
LOCATION / North Hollywood, California
TYPE / Preschool & Arts and Activities Building
SIZE / 12,500sf
ROLE / Design Architect & Architect of Record
COST / $8 million