Baker Demonstration School
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Baker Demonstration School is a progressive school, one that does not stop at academics but attends to the whole child. Working with the master planning firm, The Lakota Group, Bailey Edward is leading Baker through the re-imagination of their 1960’s era building, formerly the National College of Education, located in Wilmette, Illinois. This will be the first time that Baker has been able to change their environment to reflect who they are and their unique progressive educational mind frame. Creating a holistic learning environment that starts with Lakota’s nature-first master plan and continues through the arrival sequence and into the building, there will be an emphasis on creating community and experiences for real-life learning for students and parents.
Functionally, Baker’s current main entrance lacks a strong presence and is inadequate to meet modern security standards. Once securely inside, the lobby, parent and administrative areas need to look, feel and act as the primary place for the Baker community - parents, students and staff - to commingle and interact as one.
Bailey Edward examined multiple solutions to provide a secure and welcoming environment for the main entrance, lobby, front office areas, campus welcoming area and Baker Parent Organization area. Branded exterior canopies direct the eye to the main entry, a secure vestibule with monitored electronic security systems, whose openness provides direct staff sightlines to the entry and draws people into the ‘living room’ of Baker School. The reconfigured interior centralizes all administrative functions, increases the visibility of the Baker Parent Organization by bringing them to the front of the school and encourages all of the school – adults and children - to meet, interact and hang out with each other in a relaxed communal environment.
Bailey Edward’s imaginative design and professional renderings prompted a quick and generous donation to realize the new vision for Baker Demonstration School. Bailey Edward is currently working to phase the construction to coincide with the school’s celebration of both its 100th year as an institution (founded in 1918) and its 10th year as an independent organization (2006).
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Baker’s experiential approach to learning nurtures the development of the whole child, and cultivates its students’ intrinsic motivation to learn and active participation in the learning process. As such, the campus outdoor areas contribute to the educational goals as much as classrooms and other interior areas.
To visually connect the new entry sequence with the outdoor nature paths and play areas, Bailey Edward integrated natural wood and stone elements throughout the design. Organic shapes mimic the natural plantings visible through the large windows in the ‘living room,’ conference room, and administrative offices. Sustainable materials were used in support of Baker’s progressive educational model and desire to raise grounded, productive, curious and creative citizens who will impact their current and future communities for the better.