All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions

Rockford Public School / CannonDesign

Rockford Public School / CannonDesign

© Robert Benson © Robert Benson © Robert Benson © Robert Benson + 31

Schools  · 
Rockford, United States
  • Architects Authors of this architecture project CannonDesign
  • Area Area of this architecture project
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project
    2018
  • Photographer Created with Sketch.
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Autodesk, Draper, HUFCOR, McNeel, Rikett, Smith Systems, Sunflex, Tandus Centiva, VS America
  • Architecture

    Darren Poon, Eric Wyszkowski
  • Design Principal

    Robert Benson
  • Project Principal

    Stuart Brodsky
  • Mechanical Engineering

    Keith Hammelman, Javier Madrigal
  • Electrical Engineering

    John Economou, Kassam Masters, Sarah Bower
  • Lighting Design

    Raisa Shigol
  • Plumbing/Fire Protection

    Andrew Grabowski
  • Structural Design

    Justin Holmes
  • Cost Estimating

    Mike Hepp, Bill Grill, Gerry Horner, Bryan Knapp
  • Additional Architecture Team Members

    Geoff Walters, Ronald Harrison, Marion Lawson, Keri VanSant, Mary Cavanaugh, Sanja Kuntz, Raquel Morales, Nicole Wiznitzer, Christopher Defosset
  • Additional Engineering Team Members

    Pedro Tenorio, Tasnim Tanveer
More Specs Less Specs
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson

Text description provided by the architects. Children are a segment of the population with essentially zero political power. Any power they do hold is by proxy. The process and resulting solution for Rockford Public Schools’ new K-5 prototype school pivots this dynamic, designing with students rather than for them. This architecture is community. During discovery meetings with the school principal, the design team learned the district holds “morning briefings” with their students, many of whom have disadvantageous, difficult and even traumatic home lives. The briefings are designed to help students release any negative energy they may hold, so they can best take in new information and collaborate with peers throughout the day.

© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson

Recognizing the importance of these “morning briefings” with students, our team identified a need for more programmatic space to ensure they could occur and students could best thrive. Balancing budget and space constraints, the design team in collaboration with Rockford 4th grade students designed a covered town hall at the center of the building. The town hall unites the school’s gymnasium, cafeteria, art spaces, library and other public spaces while providing a home for the briefings.

© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
Plan
Plan
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson

The central town hall is surrounded by grade-level learning communities specifically designed to the needs of the distinct age groupings: kindergarten, first and second, third and fourth and fifth grades. As a result of engaging students in the design process, the school moves away from traditional features - such as long corridors and fixed, immovable classroom objects that inhibit interaction and skill development - to embrace a more open village design concept. This concept creates hubs for connection throughout the building and enhances a sense of community. In the case of the Rockford K-5 prototype school, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson

The architecture engages children directly, at once both stimulating and educational. It inherently responds to the reality that entering kindergarten - in this case an 86,000 SF building - can be a remarkably difficult transition and intimidating experience. Influenced by the drawings of children, the design team created unique kindergarten spaces that are visible from the street to help eliminate any intimidation. Each space has unique geometric windows with different colors that break the scale of the school down to the one room schoolhouse, allowing kindergarten students to understand their space in the larger community.

© Christopher Barrett
© Christopher Barrett
Diagram 01
Diagram 01
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson

The windows, installed near floor level, are irresistible to the kindergartners, beckoning them to engage with the world around them. This geometric strategy extends to other spaces throughout the building where students learn while playing. With integrated furniture, the students learn mass and void relationships in the physical world. This spatial reasoning is essential for their development. In the learning communities, the soft, moveable furniture is designed to be pushed, pulled, and repositioned any way the students desire. Their collaboration, community, and experience is remade by them each day.

© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson
© Robert Benson

Finally, the architecture of the whole is designed to reflect the larger community of Rockford, Illinois. Drawing on the community’s agrarian and industrial roots, the 86,000-sf facility is broken down into smaller, identifiable masses, reflecting the student’s understanding of architecture and place. Looking at both the macro (history, community, culture) and the micro (postures, cognitive development, learning styles) the design team synthesized a new prototype for both the students and the community.

© Christopher Barrett
© Christopher Barrett

Project gallery

See all Show less

Project location

Address: Rockford, Illinois, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Rockford Public School / CannonDesign " 07 Jun 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/917639/rockford-public-school-cannondesign/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Robert Benson

罗克福德公立学校 / CannonDesign

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.