EPISCOPAL DAY SCHOOL
Fall 2016 | Prof. Frank Martinez | 3 Partners
The studio project, sponsored by and in collaboration with Robert A. M. Stern Architects, was a design of the campus for St. Stephens Episcopal Day School. The kindergarten through fifth grade school, comprised of 200 students, was designed around three key objectives. First, the new campus design develops two strong, central axes to create unique and powerful views of the L-shaped site. Second, the school maintains a clear transition from the public to the private realm along those two axes. Ultimately, the creation of a hierarchy of courtyards leads to a seamless and interactive procession through the entire campus.
Surrounded by a healthy community and lush environment, the school well positions their students for success. The campus in Coconut Grove, FL is nestled between downtown, Peacock Park, and Biscayne Bay. With these key connections in mind, the design incorporates a new detailed and complicated program. A modern episcopal school needs more than just a church and schoolhouse. A new church, retail space, theater, library, science wing, cafeteria and classrooms were designed for this new campus.
The new science and classroom building was the area that I architecturally focused on during the completion of the project. The classical character of the building (elevation below) keeps with the traditional styles of South Florida, Coconut Grove, and the school itself. It was also critical to take advantage of the various views of the surrounding community, park, and bay. Thus, the design evolved into the creation of a tower to serve as an observatory and anchor for the campus. This tower functions as both a campanile for the church, and a clock tower for the school.
It was important for the tower to not be void of program. The science portion of the school occurs within the tower. Students have science laboratories, presentation rooms, a clock spiral stair and a rooftop garden in this building (section to the right). The top floor of the tower is a science observation deck with a view over Peacock Park and Biscayne Bay (top image). It additionally acts as a bell tower to be rung by a student at the start of every school day.