We designed a new center with sensory learning environments to meet the growing needs of CMU’s early childhood development program
The Central Michigan University’s College of Education and Human Services program grew from modest beginnings to a nationally recognized doctoral and research-intensive institution. As a result, they outgrew their facilities and needed a new building to meet the learning needs of students, instructional needs of faculty, and functional needs of supporting staff.
Our team was engaged for the architecture, interior design, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering of a new building which includes the Childhood Development Center. We designed it as a southern facing space with floor to ceiling glass that looks out to an outdoor learning environment. The interior design treats children with a palette of natural materials that give warmth to the light filled space. Our central idea was to organize and construct spaces that enable children to explore, learn, and express their potential, abilities, and curiosity. A rich Reggio Emilia approach to the design considers children as a laboratory for the senses—each sense activates other senses: they ‘see’ temperature, ‘touch’ light, and ‘taste’ smells.
Our careful designing of the sensory learning environments works around a young child’s cognitive processes. This new facility houses a nationally renowned education program, early childhood development center, human development clinic, reading clinic, classroom, and laboratory space.
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