Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy | South Memphis

Memphis, TN

Services provided on this project:

Architecture Overview:

Thoughtfully designed for the education and development of children ages six weeks to five years, the world-class Porter-Leath Early Childhood Academy is a safe, comfortable space that promotes nurturing bonds between teaching staff and young children. Ample physical space and light allow babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to explore, learn, and develop, while intimate spaces encourage interactive learning. Embracing the strong sentiment shared by community members during the visioning and programming phase, the Academy embraces local culture and geography. The design weaves the natural environments of the river and forest with the vibrant colors of the city to create a visual fabric for the learning environment and shared community spaces. The concepts of river, city, and forest emerge as organizational elements that help define classroom neighborhoods, gross and fine motor skill activity spaces, playgrounds, and shared community spaces. Through the reception and gathering area, the journey to the classroom, and outside to the exterior playground spaces, children are immersed in surroundings inspired by nature. Colors, textures, and river and forest-inspired elements from the exterior flow into the entry gathering area, through the multipurpose room, and throughout the corridors. Children follow the flow of the meandering river as they travel through hallways, and will feel the touch of trees as they pass by wood plank-wrapped walls to enter their classrooms. This bright and energetic environment provides an abundance of opportunities for interactive, engaging, and playful learning.

Interior Design Overview:

Landscape Architecture Overview:

This integrated site design utilizes the built environment and natural context to support concurrent delivery for both childcare and education. The program offers on-site best management practices, use of local and regional materials, low impact natural-landscaping areas, and unique play environments to foster learning and growth for the children. Creation of a unique, outdoor, and age appropriate learning environment for 224 children, provides 35,760 SF of play area for engaging with the outdoors in a safe environment. The on-site storm water retention and filtration reduces run-off and improves the eroding outfall conditions on the north end of the site. Integrating site and architectural concepts uses patterns, textures, and materials to engage you children with their build environment.