Through design sessions with Grain Valley students and faculty, the idea to create a dominate walkway of varying heights linking learning spaces of diverse sizes took shape. A layer of technology was added to the site, paradoxically, to aid in the experience of the natural site. The major building materials were purposely kept simple – limestone gravel for the path, Cor-ten steel for the major horizontal and vertical elements, and cedar lumber for the deck. Keeping with our concept, the natural environment will slowly change the steel from grey to a dark red as it rusts, while just the opposite will happen to the cedar. It will slowly change from its natural reddish hue to steel grey over time. These materials speak to the ever-changing natural world. The path links several backdrops for education, including a gathering space for 20-30 students and staff, a collaboration space for smaller groups, a garden space to facilitate biological and botanical curriculum, and an observation area away from the noise of civilization meant to be a more quiet and contemplative space for individuals.
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