Behind the Brains of Learnscape®
Posted on July 24, 2019
By Hollis + Miller Architects
Although it’s true that we are fueled by caffeine and creativity, you won’t find our emerging professionals out making coffee runs.

Instead, they are right on the front lines, leading the design and construction team for Learnscape®, an outdoor learning environment. Hollis + Miller donates their time and resources to design a new Learnscape® locally each year, and this year will benefit the Raytown School District.

Our team of seven Emerging Professionals came together from various universities nation-wide to work towards the common goal of designing an innovative outdoor learning environment for New Trails Early Learning Center by the end of the summer. They jumped at the exciting challenge of designing an outdoor space, though much of their education has revolved around interior spaces. Behind the scenes of the creative design were many hours of research, exploration, coordination and prototyping of materials. Each Emerging Professional took on the responsibility for the design and constructability of a section of the Learnscape®, giving them the experience and ownership to fully understand the design before they lead a team on Build Day.

“As interns, there are varying experience levels. We are mentoring and learning from each other. I learn so much every day in the little unexpected moments.”

Exposing the Emerging Professionals to their first client, the Raytown School District, provided them with the understanding of our co-create process, and knowledge of what it takes to manage a project from design through construction. Adhering to a realistic budget, imagining how educators might incorporate the space into their curriculum, and designing for student needs were just a few of the learning opportunities they encountered throughout the project’s life.

“I loved getting to know the client and relating to the kids. I can’t wait to see the students interact in the finished project and how it might change the traditional ways they learn.”


Designing such a special space for New Trails Early Childhood would not have been possible without the generous donations from our community partners. Sturgis MaterialsEcoTurf SurfacingDirect Embed Coating SystemsSYNLawnKid RuhlsLowe’sMKECKansas City Brick CompanyYankee Hill Brick, Albert Tamm LumberMissouri Organic Recycling and Square 1 all helped bring this project to life.

We’re excited to share the final Learnscape with you this fall!

Behind the Brains of Learnscape®