Embarking On Learnscape®

Each year, Hollis + Miller Architects donates the design and construction of a signature outdoor learning classroom to a Kansas City-metropolitan area school district, and this year’s recipient is Raytown Quality Schools.

The strategic site location of Raytown’s Learnscape® optimizes use for students and staff at both New Trails Early Childhood Center and Blue Ridge Elementary School to engage with the outdoor classroom.

Leading the charge

Our team of Emerging Professionals leads the Learnscape® charge every year, bringing fresh perspectives and new ideas to ensure a truly one-of-a-kind outdoor learning space for Raytown. This also gives our interns experience managing the design, documentation and planning for our upcoming build day. They truly get to own the project and take it from design through construction, all in 8 short months.

“This experience is unique for us, we don’t typically design outdoor spaces in school. It gives us a different perspective and challenges us with a whole new set of things to think about.”

– Ahmed Akacha, Kansas State University

Kicking it off

The design team along with District stakeholders and educators, kicked off the project with a series of empathy exercises to develop a connection with the students we are designing for. It is a top priority to make this space usable and enjoyable for every student. Nearly one-quarter of the student population at New Trails Early Learning Center has special needs, making universal design paramount in this project. Things like sensory discovery and mobility will play a large part in how the students learn and interact in the space.

After multiple design charrettes with the District and our internal Hollis + Miller staff, the overall concept of this years’ Learnscape® is experience, focusing on four insights: perspective, exploration, journey and discovery.

Follow along!

We’re excited to take you through our Learnscape® design journey. Check back next month to see our final design for New Trails Early Learning Center!

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