Whitfield School has established itself as one of the most prestigious college prep schools in the St. Louis metropolitan area. It has been focused on expanding its facilities over the last several years, not to increase enrollment, but rather to enhance its curriculum and culture. When we came on board as the architect, the school was operating out of several different types of buildings, including: a garage building, an existing house, metal building structures and a recent addition for the cafeteria and kitchen.
The first project included the addition of a classroom wing and an entirely new image. The school’s desire was to take the facility in a completely new direction, giving it an entirely new image to the community. They felt the architecture should have a traditional style; not necessarily purely classical in nature, but yet reflective of their goals of being “on the cutting edge of technology” with a hi-tech, team approach to education.
Their immediate desire was to reface all existing buildings with new exterior walls to cover the metal building structures, an approach that is costly and yields no new space for education. Through master planning efforts, it became clear that some of the existing structures were obstacles to new construction.
A new, main entrance was an element that could serve to screen the existing buildings and upgrade the image from the street. This approach was desirable because it not only hid the existing building from the road, but it immediately provided a useful function for the daily operation of the school drop-off and pick-up. After this phase of the project, almost half of the complex had a new and different look.
The second phase included expansion of the Science Wing, connecting it with the main campus. A design vocabulary, consistent with the first phase, helped reinforce the school’s image and presence within the surrounding residential community.
The final phase included a new Performing Arts Center, Gymnasium and Gallery that completes the campus with an elegant, handsome appearance along Ladue Road to the north. Through a span of almost twelve years, Whitfield School has changed its image from a facility with metal buildings, houses, and renovated garages to a campus that is unified, consistent and second to none in the country.
The M+H Team understands the value of a comprehensive and inclusive design process. Planning and design of Master Plans for proposed tracks of land require investigation of factors from a variety of sources to achieve a final product of lasting value. For the approach to be successful, it must engage all stakeholders and explore a broad range of possible solutions. Each project demands a clear understanding and assimilation of a diverse set of requirements. Our team has the expertise to listen to your needs and the creativity to transform those thoughts and ideas into functional and inspirational solutions.