New Learning Landscape Focuses on Animals, Insects and Patterns of Nature on the Shared School Campus of Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST): Conservatory Green Middle School and High Tech Elementary School.
Lafayette, Colorado . . . August 22, 2014 Design Concepts, an award-winning community and landscape architecture firm, announced today the grand opening celebration of a new Learning Landscape at Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST): Conservatory Green Middle School and High Tech Elementary School.
The shared school, with grades from early childhood education through eighth grade (ECE-8), is a new Denver Public School located in the Stapleton ‘Conservatory Green’ neighborhood, a redevelopment community situated on the former Stapleton International Airport. Design Concepts was hired by RB+B Architects to design the shared school site.
From active play to passive and reflective areas, the Learning Landscape features abundant opportunities of interactive learning and educational teaching tools integrated throughout the school campus.
“Design Concepts’ theme for the Learning Landscape combines colors, patterns and textures of animals, insects and patterns found in nature,” stated Carol Henry, PLA, ASLA, president and principal landscape architect of Design Concepts. “Special design features include integrating fun and colorful educational symbolism like a butterfly lifecycle walkway, the US map painted on asphalt, nature-themed play equipment with dragonfly-like patterns, abstract insect forms embedded into play pits, a flight path of a bee integrated into an outdoor adventure area, and QR codes etched into a maze providing an integrated learning component.”
The site’s animal and nature theming is interwoven throughout the site. An outdoor discovery area is themed around plant life and includes an outdoor classroom with a tactile discovery walk. Custom shade structures designed as giant leaves are located throughout the site. At the main entry plaza, etched water patterns provide a visual progression typically found in a watershed. And in the student garden area, natural materials make up the site, with plentiful native materials and plantings: a buff sandstone amphitheater sits in dappled shade formed by leaf cutouts in the shade structures, an oversized cottonwood stump creates a picnic table and seats, a wooden bridge crosses a cobble stream channel, stone patterns are imbedded in the crushed gravel walkways, and a pathway of tree stumps form an adventurous balance walk.
The landscape design also includes common amenities appropriate to a school site including outdoor recreation and play fields, open spaces and plazas to embrace the community, along with carefully planned parking and student drop-off and pick-up zones for both parent and bus access.
“The design not only provides maximum functional site organization and amenities, but offers a fun and healthy active learning environment for students, teachers, parents and the surrounding community.”