Annapolis Elementary School (AES) is the oldest continuously operational public school in the State of Maryland. The renovation and addition to this Historic Landmark in Downtown Annapolis combines the 1895 AES and the adjacent 1905 Brown Building with a new connecting structure. The project develops a cohesive 21st century learning environment featuring the historic significance of the building and site, the urban context of the State Capital and Naval Academy, and the natural features of the Chesapeake Bay waterfront as learning and teaching tools.
Intense collaboration with Educators, Parents, Neighbors, Historians, and Craftspeople results in the restoration of the historic structures and a connecting addition that is sensitive to the historic architectural features. The addition is carefully massed to reveal the form defining edges of the historic buildings while new details directly relate to and abstract from the existing architectural rhythms and principles in a contemporary expression.
Media Center, Art, and Science are unconventionally planned at the top level of the building to offer dramatic daily views to all students. Framed views, tactile exposure of old and new materials, and displays of the school’s history are all woven together with the educational pedagogy.
The site fulfills a prominent role in its urban context. Accessible pedestrian pathways navigate a park like setting celebrating environmental features of mature trees and proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. Public amenities include a pocket park softening the street edge, an outdoor classroom, playgrounds, and an entry plaza designed around a historic millstone recovered onsite.