The purpose of this project was to design a new Cincinnati Waldorf School, which would be located in French Park, just outside the city. Waldorf education is based on the writings of Rudolf Steiner who advocated taking a developmental approach to education. This developmental approach entails educating the "whole" student. Hands-on experience is crucial to the curriculum, and creativity of any sort is encouraged. One teacher stays with a group of students throughout the elementary school years as they grow crops, build and play musical instruments, paint and create their own textbooks. Because of their focus on nature, the Waldorf School needed to be built of natural materials, be well integrated with the site and supportive of the many indoor and outdoor activities the students and teachers partake in.
Because of the importance of nature in Waldorf education, it seemed appropriate to include many outdoor spaces, above and beyond those required by the program. The design needed to be organic, reaching out into the site to provide views to the forest and prairie. The design, however, is also strongly axial to help order the chaos of the surrounding nature and provide strong views and approaches to the building.
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