SPECIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY - NORTHVIEW HIGH SCHOOL
Because the students at Northview have a wide-range of abilities, the school requires specialized learning environments that support each group’s physical, sensory and educational needs. Specific curricular suites were designed accordingly and are accessed from a large corridor that forms a loop, with a therapy garden and courtyard at the center. Suites are linked so that swing classrooms can serve one suite or the adjacent. A visual connection to the courtyard area through large windows in suites and common spaces orient students as they move through the building and assist in wayfinding.
Common gathering spaces promote educational enrichment, personal and group interaction, and life skills training, while also inspiring independence and self-reliance. Given the challenges and sensitivities of the students, the aesthetics of the learning environment – colors, light, and structure – took on additional importance. The use of inviting colors, contrast and cues, reflect a natural and soothing environment. Care was taken to select materials for building finishes that reflect and enhance the calming, nature theme, but also offer the necessary durability.