Barker Associates Architecture Office and 4|Mativ Design Studio have recently completed Mi Casita Preschool and Cultural Center, located in a new mixed-use development in Brooklyn. The brief called for three classrooms to occupy a large space with 15' ceilings on the ground floor of the building with a lower level for support programming. The space is organized around an L-shaped trough sink that becomes a social gathering spot and that also functions as a bathroom sink.
Divisions between rooms are made with furniture to provide flexibility so that the space can be transformed for special events including performances organized by the school's artist-in-residence. The school's focus on being a 'home away from home' and learning from the different cultures that coexist in Brooklyn led the designers to incorporate graphic elements relating to home and city in the design of the space.
A large house-shaped vitrine on the mezzanine will showcase seasonal displays that relate to the curriculum. House-shaped cutouts in the walls provide child-sized reading nooks and passages through the space. A graphic in shades of pale blue in the tile mosaic around the bathroom and trough sink references the city skyline and is echoed as a linear element in the window treatment.
Color is used for dramatic effect throughout the space. Turquoise on the ceiling and light globes give the sense of being under a bright blue sky. Orange is used in cutouts in the walls and accent elements in the space. Orange-lined stairs lead down to the parent-co-working space.
Photography: Lesley Unruh