The new Matapeake Elementary School celebrates its unique ecological location on Kent Island in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Its design creates a facility that serves as a focal point on Kent Island, where students and the community feel a sense of identity and belonging. It translates academic and community needs, expressed during a public design process, into an CAPACITY600COST PER SQ FT$123.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio architectural and functional solution. The building’s nautical vocabulary is appropriate to the cultural context and nautical vernacular of the Chesapeake Bay region and creates a sense of place with regional identity, which reinforces social belonging.
The building plan and elevations, as a metaphor for community, express the individual program elements as discrete building volumes that recall the houses and neighborhoods from which the students are most familiar. The plan is organized around a linear, naturally lighted promenade and a central, enclosed environmental courtyard. The spaces weave together and create “outdoor rooms” for learning that are integral parts of the interior environment. Activity in the promenade and courtyard encourages student and faculty interaction, and fosters a sense of identity and belonging. The classroom clusters, designed as interconnected houses, combine with the promenade and courtyard to create an intimate, communal atmosphere within the context of the larger building.