When it was time for a locally adored facility for children with special needs to expand, they turned to Susan Strauss Design to realize their vivid ideas. The school’s founding principles are essentially a celebration of life. Their new complex had to portray that vibrancy while accommodating all the distinct functions, features, and equipment running such an operation entails.
World Architecture & Design Awards 2019
Honorable Mention | Category: Institutional
Architects: Susan Strauss
Studio: Susan Strauss Design
Country: United States
Bright colors were a natural fit for this project, and Susan Strauss, the lead designer on board paired coral, mint, and sky blue with stark whites and a soothing natural wood finish. This design move added sophistication and a level of timelessness the building needed. The entrance features a glass Herculite door system with motivational slogans greeting visitors. Beyond that is a dimensional wall painted white, with flashes of color strewn about. Translucently colored glass sails by 3Form are suspended from the soaring ceilings, creating a captivating sculpture installation.
The space then splits into two wings and each corridor has its own unique character. One hallway features a geometric wall design which utilizes paint, trim, glass, and mirror in a contemporary layout. Round windows are accented by bold trim and overlapping paint designs add visual interest. The lower portion of the walls are clad in large format porcelain tile, enhancing the streamlined, airy feel and double as a protective crash guard against any wheelchairs etc. Rounded walls at the nucleus of the hallway are covered in Italian mosaics forming a soothing gradient of colors. Custom colored dome pendants complete the circular scheme in the space.
Within the many classrooms, Susan played with layering sheetrock creatively to infuse each room with memorable silhouettes. Every room has its own colorway, with different interpretations on shapes.
Down the second hallway, large MDF panels wrap the walls in asymmetrical patterns. Custom windows introduce new angles and give a fun spin on the classic “peek into the classroom” window. Walk a bit further, and natural toned wood slats climb up the walls and extend onto the ceiling. Between sections of the slats are overscale artwork. But not just any art pieces. The energetic images are actual pictures of happy students at the Special Children Center.
The brief was to deliver happiness in a building, and Susan Strauss Design went above and beyond to create a state-of-the-art building, ripe for creating memories, and bring smiles to anyone who enters.