This project started as a simple kindergarten classroom and Fine Art/Music room addition to meet new statewide standards. It became the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) standard for Fine Art/Music rooms and an excellent example of navigating difficult site grades without sacrificing key design intentions.
The most logical site for the addition was on the east side of the campus. However, there was a substantial grade change and minimal space between the existing building and the campus road. Our solution was to set the kindergarten classrooms back into the earth at the drive. This created an ideal space for an early childhood playground between the existing classrooms and the new kindergarten classrooms. The Fine Art/Music room is also surrounded by high retaining walls on two of its three open sides. Clerestory windows still allow quality daylight to penetrate the space while also blocking unsightly views of the retaining walls and parking.
The curved, standing seam metal roofs reinforce the design concept of opening to the playground and closing off to the parking area. The curve, which is echoed on the interior, also contributes to the acoustic quality within the Fine Art/Music room. In addition to the daylight and acoustics, the Fine Art/Music room has carefully designed built-in storage to accommodate the variety of materials and musical instruments used. Special consideration was also given to the sink and kiln requirements. Since its completion, APS references the Fine Art/Music room at Hubert Humphrey whenever a new Fine Art/Music room is funded at another school.