The Fenton Primary Center is a school with big aspirations on a small site. The project is extremely modest in materials and architectural flourish but is strategic in the deployment of a few carefully conditioned moves that maximize functionality and uniqueness in this compact project. The project consists of two floors of classrooms over a lower level with kitchen and multipurpose room. The sloping site is two stories at the street front with the downsloping lot affording three stories facing the play area. The exterior landscape resolves this difference by creating an accessible loop spiraling from classroom level to lower multipurpose room. A proposed 3% reduction in classroom size allowed the design team to aggregate area in a common atrium at the core.
Orientation in the building was of paramount concern in this 900-student school of Kindergarten through 2nd grade. The atrium is filled with natural light and playful windows from the adjacent classrooms. A wall graphic of flying birds with small inscriptions from students ― of what it means to climb and ascend―mark the space that is used in a number of ways by teachers. The building is divided into four quadrants, each marked by its unique, bold coloration.