School Design Breaks Away from Traditional Campus Setting to Foster a New Way of Learning

Corte Madera, Calif., – Saturday, August 17, marked the official groundbreaking of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District’s new Cove Elementary School. Utilizing a collaborative planning process that involved teachers, district and community input, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) designed the elementary school that deviates from the typical campus of the last century to meet the changing needs of 21st century learning environments.

Cove“Cove Elementary will be a truly special place that raises the bar and sets a new standard for elementary school development and renovation,” said Mark Quattrocchi, principal at QKA. “We’ve seen and have played a large role in designing 21st century learning environments at the high school level, and are starting to see districts realize the benefits for their elementary programs. This campus promises to foster collaboration, integration and ‘hands on’ learning in addition to spaces for peer-to-peer and individualized instruction.”

The five-building, 39,680-square-foot elementary school will make use of Learning Suites instead of traditional stand-alone classrooms. Each suite includes two classroom-sized spaces that can be combined or differentiated partitioned off by a partially transparent operable wall, allowing collaborative and integrated teaching for group, individual and peer learning. The entrances for all suites face a central shared courtyard. The campus will be anchored by a student services and café gathering space, which will accommodate administration and counseling offices, dining, performance and exercise use, and school-wide assemblies. Cove will boast abundant natural light, large alcoves for art and science, reading nooks and designated outdoor learning spaces, such as a central amphitheater, culinary gardens and nature exhibits.

“After many years and much planning and community input, we are very excited to see our dreams for a new Cove Elementary come to life,” said Valerie Pitts, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District. “We are very pleased with the collaboration of our design and construction partners on this project. They listened to our needs and have exceeded our expectations in terms of services delivery. In a year’s time, we will be welcoming students into a truly progressive and effective learning experience.”

The school’s construction is projected to complete for the 2014 school year and will accommodate approximately 325 kindergarten through fifth grade students. In addition to QKA, the project team includes general contractor Lathrop Construction Associates, Inc., Brelje & Race Civil Engineers, Carducci & Associates Landscape Architects, O’Mahony & Myer Electrical Engineers, Costa Mechanical Engineers and ZFA Structural Engineers.

About Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
Santa Rosa-based Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) provides comprehensive master planning, design and construction administration services for Northern California K-12 and higher education, historic renovation and community facilities. With more than $1 billion in projects completed in the company’s more than 25-year history, QKA’s award-winning portfolio reflects a commitment to design that emphasizes environmental sustainability and community impact. Recent projects include the new American Canyon High School, which is heralded as the “greenest school in America” and has achieved the highest score of a California school to date from the Collaborative for High Performance School (CHPS) verified program. Visit:

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