2006 MERIT AWARD:
Montessori School of Maui
Location: Makawao, HI (US).
Design Team: Flansburgh Associates, Inc.
Ages: Grades Primary/Middle.
Population: 270 students.
Completion: 2007 (scheduled).
“Kudos to both architects and educators for their vision and willingness to treat children with the respect they deserve.”
– Prakash Nair
Located on the northern slope of a volcano, at roughly 1,500 feet above sea level, this Montessori school demonstrates a real commitment to sustainability.
Both educators and the design team saw an expanded campus environment that reflects the school’s educational mission and ecological values. The site and building design had to actualize the principles and practices of the school’s Earth Education program and the Montessori philosophy of education, which always incorporates outdoor education. This Living Campus integrates the curriculum within a series of individual buildings and outdoor special-use areas.
The school’s educators stated that the sustainability guidelines and integrated curriculum directed new campus construction in such a way that students and teachers can utilize the facilities and grounds as learning tools within an expanded prepared environment. The campus and the buildings needed to provide and maximize opportunities for students to fall in love with the natural world. Additionally, the design stresses a connection with the Earth’s natural cycles.
To all who reviewed the project, it was clear that the design reinforces and fosters the student’s ability to gain an understanding of humanity’s relationship with Earth’s systems and species.
Review Team Comments:
Amy Yurko connected immediately with the connection between design and program: “The limited number of classrooms reinforces the commitment to using outdoor learning environment.” Taking it one step further, Prakash Nair spoke passionately that this was one of the best designs he had seen in the entire competition: “This is one of the very few (can we safely say less than 0.5% of schools anywhere) that is conscious about the need for students to experience the outdoors, experience nature (both visually and experientially) and demonstrate in the design itself, good environmental stewardship. This design is truly one of the best I have seen this year.”