Maplewood, Minnesota

Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke worked closely with the Minnesota Waldorf School to develop a Master Plan for its new site in Maplewood. Through many discussions with faculty, staff, parents and students, the Master Plan suggests a village concept in which a collection of individual structures are joined together by meandering rain water gardens. This evocative concept reinforces the Waldorf educational philosophy that emphasizes the development of the whole child — socially, intellectually, physically and spiritually. The campus site and buildings have sensitivity to the earth through the use of sustainable and renewable materials organized in a manner that enhances the teaching of environmental stewardship.

The master plan allows the campus to grow incrementally in an organic fashion, yet always look complete. The project’s first phase organized the classrooms around play yards and gardens. The court for the lower grades surrounds the 125 year old oak tree, which inspired the forms for the internal structure of the adjacent “Festival Hall”, as the symbolic ‘heart’ of the school. Its tree-like structure uses timbers from the now closed Arden Hills Arsenal, and provides a central location for teaching, community celebrations and concerts. Natural materials, organic forms and a keen sense of movement through the site and buildings contribute to the overall experience of a school dedicated to a child’s natural development.