Teton County Children's Learning Center -

CompanyWard+Blake Architects
ClientKatie Wilson
Prize2nd Place in Architecture Categories / Institutional
Entry Description

The architect of record teamed up with a Boston childcare design expert to create a facility that explicitly educates and stimulates children through its design. Corridors mimicking the Snake River, create a ‘family-room’ concept with gently curving walls and becomes a destination place serving as a transitional space for parents and children; a play space during inclement weather; and an alternate teaching space with alcoves of learning. The ‘family-room’ opens into private rooms designed with multilevel spaces and play areas that provide places of changing scale that benefit young children and allow flexibility. All spaces within the building are visually open so that children can easily be seen for both educational and security reasons. The interior’s design concepts are also enhanced by large glass expanses and clerestory windows that welcome ample natural light accompanied by good solar orientation and beautiful views. An innovative playground provides separate areas for activities and age groups and stimulates creativity with interactive play structures. In addition, paths created in the wetlands educate children about the environment. The Rammed Earth wall at the entry acts as a thermal mass wall and sets up a datum line pointing toward the majestic peaks of the Grand Teton. Porch overhangs create covered outdoor space and shade the hot summer sun, while allowing the desirable penetration of winter sun. Utilizing iconic design motifs such as beaver slides, ranch outbuildings, and slatted fence lines for inspiration, the building is broken down into smaller masses that reference the ranch like setting and residential neighborhood. Sensitive to its residential environment, as well as the natural environment, the building achieved a LEED Gold rating by using a ground source heat pump, thermal mass rammed earth walls, recycled and low maintenance materials, and a computerized system that efficiently controls natural daylighting and artificial light.

About Designer

Ward + Blake Architects was built on a distinctive vision: be provocative in thought, flexible in nature, and disciplined in execution. Since 1996, Ward + Blake have been creating spaces that reference the land and the history of the region while also embracing cutting-edge construction materials and techniques. We have created a working environment where the powers of innovation, smart building and creativity flourish. Our firm is composed of twelve trained professional people including four Licensed Architects, six Intern Architects, an Interior Designer and an Office Manager. Ward+Blake Architects is organized horizontally rather than vertically, which is to say that we realize our design work utilizing the strengths of our staff members at all phases of the project. This horizontal stratification allows the principals to be involved from schematic design through construction documents, ensuring that design goals remain in focus and project objectives are obtained. Ward + Blake believes that architecture should respond to its particular place and be a natural partner with the environment. The firm’s designs evolve from an appreciation for pragmatic solutions within the honesty of modernism. By working within the context of our rich environment and applying sustainable strategies to a wide variety of building types and project scopes, Ward + Blake designs architecture that conserves energy and natural resources while creating high performance buildings and healthy environments for the buildings occupants. We listen carefully to the desires, goals and program of our clients. Ward + Blake has an excellent track record averaging less than 1% change orders on our commercial and educational projects.