OPHELIA BROWN-LAWSON HEADSTART FACILITY
The client for this building had been given a grant to partially fund this building by Federal Head Start. The client, the Community Action Agency of Miami-Dade County government, wanted a different kind of building. They did not want for it to look institutional, especially on the inside.
I knew the history of the site. Next to us, 8'-0" away from us, on the west side of our property, was a building which won design awards and was published in Progressive Architecture. I wanted to make sure that our building, not only honored the existing building, but also blended in some way with the existing structure.
The original building was a play of curves and rectangles, so our building took its key from the original building and continued with this scheme. The exterior of the building has many curves while at the same time, the main body of the building is a practical and functional rectangular building. The building is divided onto three parts. The center of the building houses the offices, employee lounge, and conference room. There is a waving, meandering corridor around this area. None of the walls of the corridor are straight. Then, on the other side of the corridor are the classrooms, kitchen, and lobby. The regular classroom windows face the east and south, for the best natural sunlight possible. The lobby with its high ceiling faces north. The sun rarely comes in from the north in South Florida so this is a good exposure for an area with much glass. The windows throughout are shaded with wide curving eyebrows protecting them from direct sunlight. Each classroom has an individual handicap-accessible toilet facility for the students. In addition, there are separate toilet facilities for visitors and staff. Outside the building there is an extensive playground for the children with a bench which mimics the curves of the building next door.
This building is just over 14,000 square feet of new construction, almost $3.5 million in construction cost.
Floor Plan above; Rear view of building below
Another view of rear above; Reception desk at right; another view of front below
Elevation drawings at left; View of front entrance at right