The Park School Early Childhood Wing and Maker Space Renovation
Nestled into a pastoral landscape in Brookline, MA, The Park School is an independent, coeducational, Pre-K through Eighth Grade day school. In 2018, Utile developed a comprehensive master plan for Park focused on updating the 1960s-era Main Building and surrounding landscape to match the goals of its 21st century pedagogy.
The first step in realizing the master plan is the transformation of the dark and outdated Lower Division Wing. In the classrooms, custom millwork organizes storage, water play, and a teacher’s zone toward the corridor, leaving a large flexible space near the perimeter windows for faculty to organize to their preference. The palette is kept neutral to allow teachers to personalize their space, but colorful accents differentiate Pre-K and Kindergarten rooms. All single user toilet rooms were upgraded according to current accessibility standards.
In the connective common space, new custom cubbies keep students’ belongings tidy and provide additional locked storage. A new centrally located snack area allows students to retrieve food independently while remaining within a teacher’s eyesight. A new lift in central circulatory space (“the Racearound”) mediates between the main wing and the playground, which is transformed into a nature-based play space as part of a concurrent project coordinated by the Utile team.
The scope of the project also includes the tactical conversion of a large board room into a Maker Space to support project-based learning. The design opens up the facade and corridor wall to maximize visual connectivity and natural light. The dropped ceiling was removed and structure left exposed for an industrial aesthetic. The plan is re-configured to create both open and secure zones, and distinct areas for iteration, reflection, and display. The corridor is activated with a breakout seating niche (with storage) and collaboration wall. The playful custom graphic wall designed by Utile highlights tools and concepts particular to Park’s making curriculum.