Cumberland Valley School District Courtyards
Derck & Edson worked with the Cumberland Valley School District to create concepts to transform three outdoor spaces into ecological auditoriums, fostering native and natural biological communities to bring students face to face with the processes of the natural environment. Diverse, low maintenance, ecological communities were designed for each educational wing, responding to the fundamental themes present in earth science, life science, and physical science. The plan includes three distinct micro-communities to create diversely programmed spaces that allow students to explore environmental processes on a personal level.
As students advance from sixth to eighth grade, a pedagogical succession takes place which accompanies their scholastic growth. Distinct changes in vegetative and material choices will establish different communities within each space. Therefore: the 6th grade classroom was designed to mimic a meadow ecosystem; 7th grade represents a later stage of succession – woodland ecosystem; and 8th grade represents the built environment – humans influence on the natural landscape.