Developed to provide quality early education for children throughout Memphis, Tennessee, the Porter-Leath and University of Memphis Early Childhood Academy at Orange Mound is a state-of-the-art preschool and teacher training institute designed to serve children from six weeks to age five.
The Academy at Orange Mound provides comprehensive education and support for 288 children across 18 classrooms. The site is located less than three miles from the University of Memphis and serves as a teaching lab for students in the College of Education.
RDG's design for the Academy encourages play and exploration, and weaves local culture, history and geography into safe and inviting spaces. The use of natural light, lush landscapes and bright colors enrich children's learning opportunities. Utilizing intentional child-friendly architecture, the space feels like an extension of home and community with unique features such as the addition of a front porch facade in each classroom, which opens into a natural playscape designed to promote play-based learning.
Large windows of insulated and tempered glass used throughout the Academy provide expansive views of exterior playgrounds while maintaining a comfortable learning environment for children, teachers and visitors.