2009 North Alabama Chapter, American Institute of Architects Design Awards Honor Award for Montessori School of Huntsville.
The school sits back from Chaney Thompson Road and extends a sheltering wing over the students from the moment they are dropped off. This canopy is comprised of painted steel girders over concrete columns and capped with a translucent roof.
The school building is organized as a series of pods clustered along a corridor. The pods contain the classrooms and administrative areas. The spaces between the pods contain restrooms, workspaces, and the like. In addition to large windows and patio doors, each pod also contains specialized HVAC equipment and a large south-facing roof monitor.
The HVAC equipment filters and preconditions the air, minimizing the presence of dust mites, mold and mildew. The light monitors provide an abundance of natural daylight. All of these features improve students’ health and academic productivity. The school also embraces nature in a very literal sense.
Each pod shares a covered patio, which serves as an outdoor classroom, providing both shade and shelter. The playgrounds connect to a path which leads to a greenway and Aldridge Creek.