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Porter-Leath

Early
Childhood
Academy,
South Memphis

Client
Porter-Leath
Location
Memphis, TN
Size
31,480 SF
Completion date
May 2017

Thoughtfully designed for the education and development of children ages six weeks to five years, the world-class Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy is a safe, comfortable space that promotes nurturing bonds between teaching staff and young children. Ample physical space and light allow babies, toddlers and preschoolers to explore, learn and develop, while intimate spaces encourage interactive learning. 

Thoughtfully designed for the education and development of children ages six weeks to five years, the world-class Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy is a safe, comfortable space that promotes nurturing bonds between teaching staff and young children. Ample physical space and light allow babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to explore, learn, and develop, while intimate spaces encourage interactive learning.

Embracing the strong sentiment shared by community members during the visioning and programming phase, the Academy embraces local culture and geography. žžƵ's design weaves the natural environments of the river and forest with the vibrant colors of the city to create a visual fabric for the learning environment and shared community spaces. The concepts of river, city, and forest emerge as organizational elements that help define classroom neighborhoods, gross and fine motor skill activity spaces, playgrounds, and shared community spaces. Through the reception and gathering area, the journey to the classroom, and outside to the exterior playground spaces, children are immersed in surroundings inspired by nature. 

Colors, textures, and river and forest-inspired elements from the exterior flow into the entry gathering area, through the multipurpose room, and throughout the corridors. Children follow the flow of the meandering river as they travel through hallways, and will feel the touch of trees as they pass by wood plank-wrapped walls to enter their classrooms. This bright and energetic environment provides an abundance of opportunities for interactive, engaging, and playful learning.

Awards
Early Childhood School Outstanding Project
Learning by Design Magazine: Learn by Design Architectural Awards
2019
Best New Construction — Small Category
Memphis Business Journal: Building Memphis Awards
2018
Design-Build Excellence Award
ASLA Great Plains Chapter
2017