This dynamic, playful, and extremely energy efficient private school was designed to meet the special needs of 75 students ages 4-12 with severe communication, learning, social and behavior problems associated with autism and other development disorders.
After years of looking and finally securing a CUP, the non-profit TIEE purchased a very dated and tired 1980’s era multi-tenant strip center across the street from the Miramar Air Station. Staff worked hand in hand with the design team to cleverly repurpose the 21,000 s.f. commercial/light industrial building into an unexpectedly wonderful indoor/outdoor learning environment students, staff, and parents are truly excited about.
At the Children’s Workshop play is an important learning tool, so a third of the existing parking lot was converted into an irresistible, highly tactile play/park space which the rest of the school literally wraps around. The CW model is based on one-to-one instruction and therapy. To meet this need, three distinct “villages” were created, one for each of the different age groups. Within each village is a series of individual learning “huts” providing areas of instruction which enhance focus and minimize distractions.
A desirable sense of openness was achieved by drawing natural light deeply into all the spaces, this was achieved by cutting in oversized skylights and replacing all the existing roll-up garage doors in the high bay spaces with storefront.
A fully functioning kitchen and laundry was provide to teach students the basics of self-care and independence. The wide-open, general activity area is the heart of the school where students can engage in a variety of sensory and motor activities, congregate for musical performances and plays, host staff in-service, as well as parent functions.
The Children’s Workshop, by design, is intentionally not supposed to look or feel like a typical institutional school. It is engaging, airy, efficient and fun-ultimately serving it student’s and family’s so beautifully well.