The climate and outdoor environment of the Phoenix area greatly influenced the design of this early learning facility. With the ability to consistently utilize the outdoor environment, the design of Educare Arizona evolved from a connection to the exterior.
The early learning classrooms are internally focused around an outdoor courtyard, which gives the early learning center a sense of security for these young children. The courtyard functions as a multi-age, outdoor classroom and play area for the children. A strong connection is created between the interior of the classrooms and the outdoor spaces of the courtyard through large window walls as well as upper, clerestory glazing. These window areas flood the classrooms with abundant natural light which in turn reduce the need for electrical lighting. Respect for the locale's strong sun exposure was provided through the use of large overhangs that double as exterior hallways and covered exterior play areas. By incorporating meeting rooms and an independent health clinic, the Early Learning facility is able to serve some additional needs within the immediate community beyond education. These spaces echo the same nurturing environments as the classrooms. The facility's entry welcomes the community through the concave form on the main exterior wall and the large glass window wall of the main entry space. Abundant natural light fills the entry space during the day. In the early evening hours the interior lighting of the entry space becomes a beacon to the community. The overall built environment is a neutral background both internally and externally, in order to accent the activity and function of the interiors and the outdoor environments and landscape.