Clark Montessori School
Cincinnati Public Schools
Clark was the first public Montessori high school in the country. This building, replacing an earlier school on an urban site in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park neighborhood, is designed to reflect the unique principles of Montessori philosophy. Stewardship of the earth and connection to our environment are major tenets. Here the connection of building and earth is literal. The ground floor grows strata-like out of a slope, the vegetation of the slope carrying over the building as an intensive vegetative roof, accessible to students as an extension of their classrooms. Natural light takes precedence over artificial. A court on the second floor and skylights provide connections to the outside and bring light deep into the building. Storm water planters serve as constant reminders of the balance of nature. Colors of the brick and stone further weave the building into the natural context of the site.
Less tangible but no less important, much of the heating and cooling will be provided by geothermal wells. Reclaimed, crushed masonry from the demolished school will be used in retaining walls, foundations and paving.
Montessori students mentor each other and thrive on the free exchange of ideas. Here movable walls allow classes to be joined. Courtyards, green roofs and a variety of informal interior spaces encourage interaction.