Berkeley Montessori School

Berkeley, California

•“Berkeley Montessori School,” Competitions, Fall, 2002

One of the larger Montessori schools in the East Bay, the Berkeley Montessori School purchased the site of the historic landmark Santa Fe Railroad (formerly the Santa Fe Bar and Grill) in order create a permanent home for its educational programs. The School held an invited competition for the school and the team of Jerri Holan & Associates, Kirk Peterson & Associates, and Michael Kee & Associates submitted one of five designs that was the Berkeley community’s most popular choice.

Their scheme surrounded the historic Spanish Mission Depot with modern, friendly buildings in the context of traditional architecture. The design was centered around a characteristic fountain and interior courtyard which leads to many outdoor areas. Varied outdoor spaces are a basic tenet of Montessori teachings and this design provided a variety of common south-facing terraces and gardens that overlooked the adjacent Park. Alas, the judges selected a more contemporary scheme for their new school and the rest is history. . .