Robbins School

The design strategy for this addition to Robbins Elementary School in inner-city Trenton, New Jersey composes the existing building with a new, courtyard massing which maximizes the open space on the site and provides multiple green spaces within. The new addition, positioned diagonally from the existing school, produces a green space at the southwestern corner of the site that allows for use outside of school hours and ideal solar orientation. The courtyard serves as the primary green space, which provides a more controlled outdoor space for the Pre-K community—a kind of garden lab. From this courtyard garden lab, additional green spaces spiral upward, “perforating” the new massing on each level above to provide a seamless integration of additional, elevated garden labs. All the garden labs are planted with native species tuned with seasonal variation (zero-scape strategy to reduce maintenance). These garden labs are strategically located to offer varied outdoor learning and recreation environments in conjunction with each small grade community.

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