The Master Plan for the re-imagination of the Three Cedars Waldorf School in Bellevue, Washington involved the extensive remodel of and addition to the former synagogue. The School has been housed in the existing structures for the past ten years but had recently reached its peak student capacity and was in dire need of expansion to accommodate a projected increase in the student population.
Professional Services that were provided for the School included: thoroughly documenting the two existing buildings and Site amenities, vetting programming needs for the School for 5, 10 and 20 year time frames with the administrative staff, coordinating the recently completed design of a temporary kindergarten facility and providing design services for the phased expansion of the facility and incorporating and modernizing the two existing structures to create a stylistically integrated complex.
A keen understanding of Architect and Waldorf Founder, Rudolf Steiner’s theories which parallel the underling teaching philosophies of a Waldorf Education were essential components of the Administration’s selection of a Design Professional for the expansion.
The School Board’s charge was that the design was to coexist with and tie together many of the competing elements of the existing site: including vehicular parking, vehicular and pedestrian circulation paths, outdated structures, natural contours and a mature cedar grove. The Design included renovation and reconfiguration of two two-story wood framed structures. The northern-most structure would house the 1st and 2nd Grade Classrooms on the First Level and the 3rd and 4th Grade Classrooms on the Second Level and providing each level with a Common Meeting Space and new Exit Stairs. The southern-most structure now becomes the central hub of the Master Plan. It is intended to house the Offices for Administrative Staff and Teachers on the Upper Level and Arts and Craft Classrooms on the Lower Level. A new Library Appendage protrudes from the northeast corner of this structure and points the way to a new Plaza/Play Area which also serves as a required Fire Apparatus turnaround.
The Existing Play area to the Southwest near the Main School Entry will be reconfigured to create a more formalized Entrance with a covered Drop-off Area. It will also provide double duty as an Amphitheater which takes advantage of the existing sloped terrain in this area. The Amphitheater’s focal point includes the schools namesake a mature existing cedar tree which will be retained and incorporated into the new Landscape Plan.
A new “Early Learners” Wing houses “Learning Rooms” for Kindergarten and Pre-K Students and is envisioned for the area west of the Amphitheater. This structure helps define this edge of Amphitheater and gives it a sense of enclosure. This area also includes its own secure outdoor play space, garden and bake oven with covered Picnic Area. To the east of the Administration Building is a new two-story structure that incorporates the 5th thru 8th Grade Classrooms which are linked via a covered walkway. This walkway radiates around the southern quadrant of the new Plaza/Play Area and terminates at the new two-story Gym/Festival Hall. This Multi-purpose Structure includes a Retractable Stage, full Catering Kitchen and Storage Area.
Design was completed in 2006.