Washington University is known for its gothic-revival architecture and traditional campus plan. A series of remote facilities to the North mark an expansion of the University’s footprint into the urban fabric of St. Louis. The Family Learning Center provided a unique opportunity to embrace contemporary and playful architecture.
Dark masonry provides the backdrop to colorful glass towers that spark intrigue and let visitors know that not all University buildings have to be serious.
The courtyard layout creates bright and airy spaces with abundant daylight and connections the outdoors. Exterior play yards for older children encircle part of the building while a more intimate infant/toddler play yard sits at the center.
Achieving LEED Gold Certification, the building takes sustainability to heart with a 30% reduction in energy costs over a comparable structure. Site design also plays a role with native/adapted planting, no irrigation, micro-detention basins, bio-swales, and permeable paving that assist the site in controlling flood events unique to the St.Louis region.