Cristo Rey St Martin (CR-SM) is planning a new campus as progressive as its students. CR-SM prides itself on its innovative approach to education, where in addition to their regular coursework, each student works for a corporation that sponsors their education. The expectation of CR-SM students is already elevated to that of a college student; therefore, they deserve an facility that emulates this. As their current facility no longer even meets the basic needs of their students, CR-SM has looked towards their neighbor, an abandoned KMart, to become their new home.
Looking past the stigma of a big box retail store, the tall volume, open floor plan and northern wetlands become immense opportunities in the transformation of the perceived eye-sore into a beacon for CR-SM. In order to make the deep floor plan suitable for a learning facility, daylight must be integrated. Slicing the building with sawtooth light monitors extends the limited building perimeter, assuring all learning spaces have access to daylight. This large gesture is twofold, as it also serves to visually break down the massive size of the KMart into smaller, more human scale volumes.
The southern site development aims to deteriorate the existing sea of concrete and give the community a glimpse at what the existing KMart is hiding to its north: a serene natural wetland. Rather than tucking the athletic fields in the rear of the school, the new facility showcases them. The new green multi-tone facade visually connects the new south greenscape to the existing northern wetland as it wraps up and over the building, creating an interconnected campus throughout the site.
The new facility strives to match CR-SM’s innovative pedagogy, giving students the high quality campus they deserve.