Early Learning Village
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Children’s Museum realized they needed to fulfill their expanded role in the community. Creating a new model for museum design, the project co-locates a children’s museum with social services for children and their families while forging a strong connection to the Louisiana landscape including:
• children’s museum
• literacy center
• parenting center
• early childhood research
• environmental educations center
• model childcare center
The 92,0000-square-foot facility will feature three buildings set among existing oaks on 11-acres in historic City Park, one of the nation’s oldest and largest parks.
The facility will feature three, glass-and-zinc-clad buildings linked by a series of courtyards that correspond to three different Louisianan landscapes: Chenier’s (natural sand levies), batture lands (Mississippi tidal flats) and canebrakes (dense bamboo groves). Children will explore along outdoor bridges that pass though the tree canopy and over water to a classroom floating on the lagoon.
Building structure is elevated for flood resistance and supported by an exterior wall “super truss,” reducing piles, with a 60’ width for daylighting. The sectional parti is inspired by the dappled light and views of the under-canopy experience of the Live Oaks, with low continuous clear vision glass and a “canopy” of contrapuntally punctured zinc walls and roof.