Location Austin
Client Montessori For All
Architect Page
Design Team Larry Speck, FAIA; Daniel Brooks, AIA; Chad Johnson; Shelby Blessing, AIA; Jim Brady, FAIA; Meredith Contello; Michael Henry; Kathy McPhail
Contractor Rogers-O’Brien Construction
Civil Engineer Urban Design Group
MEP Engineer MEP Engineering
Structural Engineer Architectural Engineers Collaborative
Technology/Security/AV Consultant True North Consulting Group
Landscape Architect Coleman & Associates

Magnolia Montessori For All (MMFA) is the first public Montessori school in Austin. It offers Montessori education to 400 students in PK-6th grade from historically disadvantaged communities in East Austin. Many of MMFA’s students are from high-risk backgrounds, so it was important that the school feel like a stable second home. The school’s program is organized into 16 cottage-like buildings that cascade down the sloping site. A multipurpose room in the center of the campus hosts the afterschool program, teacher trainings, and events. The scale, proportion, and materiality of the buildings echo the adjacent neighborhood of single-family houses to connect the school to its context. While they all share a common architectural vocabulary and design elements, no two buildings are alike. Spaces are customized to the curriculum. The residential scale was 29 percent less expensive to build than a typical Texas school building, which was essential since the project was financed by the school, not a bond package.

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