In 2014 Open World Learning (OWL), an SPPS independent school based on the concept of expeditionary learning, relocated from downtown St. Paul into an existing vacant building with a larger footprint to accommodate increased enrollment. Working closely with all stakeholders, our team developed a program specifically designed around the principals of expeditionary learning.
Our design transformed the existing building into a dynamic learning center, filled with daylight and an open floor plan, adaptable to modern learning configurations. Fulfilling the curriculum need for flexible spaces for small groups of students, we designed a series of multi-functioning common spaces carved out adjacent to existing corridors. The flexible gathering spaces also provide opportunity for student displays along the corridors and colorful way-finding opportunities.
A new glass vestibule addition announces the school’s entry from the street and provides for a secured entry adjacent to the new offices. This in turn transformed an outdoor space into a vital courtyard that now serves as an outdoor ‘living room’ embraced by students and faculty. The student experience was foremost in the reconfiguration of an existing office and service space that nows serves as a central cafeteria and spatial core of the school. Working closely with SPPS staff on the kitchen design, the cafeteria space is expandable by providing operable garage door separation with adjacent classroom spaces to accommodate future enrollment growth and community events.