Connecticut Transformative Magnet School Architects and Designers | Transformative Magnet School Architectural Designers

Transformative Magnet School Architects redefine specifications of design solutions which can lead to better guidelines for traditional and contemporary design activities in architecture.

As a result of a series of Connecticut court and legislative actions starting with the seminal 1989 Sheff v. O’Neill ruling that the de facto racial isolation in Hartford schools violated the segregation clause of the Connecticut Constitution, the State embarked on an “open choice” program between the City of Hartford and its surrounding suburbs to create integrated “equal educational opportunity” schools. The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) and the Hartford Board of Education played a lead role in this ambitious initiative.

Smith Edwards McCoy Architects is proud to have played an important role in this effort, serving as Transformative Magnet School Architects for the design of three new elementary magnet schools. The stated strategy was to create high quality learning environments that would voluntarily appeal to both city and suburban parents. This was achieved by establishing a pedagogical theme, or magnet, for each school that was at once high performing, and filled a particular niche in the educational “market”. The Montessori School at the Learning Corridor in Hartford was, of course, based on the well established philosophy of Maria Montessori. The University of Hartford Magnet School was structured around the evolving theories of “Multiple Intelligence” as developed by Howard Gardener, and the Breakthrough Academy curriculum was keyed to character building and leadership.

In the design of these Transformative Magnet Schools Smith Edwards McCoy brought to each one certain general principles that we believe are central to good school design, and particularly so to early childhood and elementary school environments. They needed to be welcoming, filled with natural light and have direct relationship to the outside. While they obviously had to be safe environments, they needed to feel safe, and be scaled to the user group.

But the great challenge in designing these Transformative Magnet Schools was to create and built environments that supported and enhanced the particular pedagogy of the magnet school.

We did so by meticulously listening to and understanding the objectives of the educators and their particular building program. We remained fully engaged with the client as we moved through the design process. With a keen awareness of budget and constructability issues, we completed the well detailed construction documents, and stayed fully engaged through construction and activation of each new school. The end product was unique learning environments that are inviting and supportive of the particular magnets themes for both teachers and learners.