The Friends’ current location was designed as a master plan and adaptive rehabilitation of an existing theological seminary and metal auxiliary building to a K-8 campus. The interior spaces were initially confined, subdivided and dark. The design opened the spaces for light-filled classrooms and created a playful learning environment the students were accustomed to. The Friends’ continued a long-standing, nearly two-decade long relationship with Robert M. Cain in this project. The bright colors and shapes carried with them a familiarity for the students from the Sams St. location also designed by Robert M. Cain, Architect.
In addition to classroom space, the facility includes administrative offices, conference rooms, meeting space, library, multi-purpose room, gymnasium, playgrounds as well as music, art and science rooms.
Color Concept: The project's strict budgetary requirements limited wall and floor finishes to, respectively, paint and vinyl tile. Application of 1960's supergraphic strategies, elementary geometry, and Josef Albers Color Theory became the design team's methods for achieving (within the school interiors) visual and intellectual interest as well as an extension of the school's instructional program.
Supergraphics cannot be contained within the planes of single architectural features. They must extend onto or through adjacent planes - from floors to walls, through walls and around corners. Applied painted shapes and forms distort perspective, play with scale, warp underlying architectural form and cannot be fully perceived without experiencing and understanding them in a space time continuum. Kids inherently understand and respond to supergraphics. Teachers use the graphics as opportunities to instruct kids in the cerebral/intuitive aspects of the graphics.