Designed for The Milwaukee Montessori School, this project responds to their need for a structure that allows the school to continue its rich tradition of outdoor learning and play throughout the seasons and during inclement weather. This covered play area is the first of its kind in Wisconsin. Mindful of the school’s limited budget for both construction and maintenance, the structure was designed with a sturdy and cost-effective material palette of steel, poured concrete and Douglas fir.

The slatted wind screen contains a variety of playful windows and openings, encouraging play and establishing unique views into the surrounding play yard. An integrated cabinetry zone in the interior of the space provides storage for toys and outdoor educational tools. A rubber membrane protects the tongue-and-groove wooden roof from the effects of Milwaukee’s frequent rain and snow, while a drain-able concrete birdbath at the rear of the site encourages observation and imagination.