Marin Horizon School
Master Plan, Design
Lighting: Auerbach & Glasow
This project started with a master plan for the expansion of the Marin Horizon School, a Montessori school located in unincorporated Mill Valley, California. The school desired to add new classrooms for the 4th through 8th grades and an auditorium/gymnasium. To add these larger building components to the sloping site and to work with the existing low building on the site, the new program elements were placed in separate buildings facing an outdoor play area. Views and corridors were created from the heart of the site to the creek below, adding to the natural beauty of the area.
After completion of the Master Plan, we designed the first phase of the project, a new 14,000 square foot classroom building and an outdoor amphitheater. The new building replaces an existing temporary building and is placed at the northwest corner of the site with its south elevation aligned with other existing school buildings while a rear portion of it is embedded into the hillside. The new building along with the new amphitheater on the west edge of the site help frame and improve the playground space as well as adding much needed outdoor space for the school.
The new 4th and 5th grade classrooms are located on the ground floor adjacent to the new music and science classrooms. The middle school, comprised of 6th, 7th and 8th grades, is on the second floor, which overlooks the playground and creek to the south and faces the hillside to the north. A covered deck space on the east end of the second floor provides an informal gathering/lunchtime space for the students. A resource room complete with a teacher preparation area is located on the third floor and is connected to all the other classrooms by way of an open stairway and elevator. Open circulation is provided throughout the building allowing ample daylight into the classrooms. This has operational and student performance benefits which are essential to increase their focus on learning.