When Green Street Academy, a Baltimore City Public Charter School, opened its doors in 2015, it marked itself as a place of innovation. The 130,000 gsf building is the second-largest LEED® Certified Platinum project in the world and offers unique programs like Construction Design/Management, Healthcare, Conservation/Urban Agriculture, and Advanced Technology. Hord Coplan Macht designed the renovation of the 1925 building, which now serves students in grades 6-12.

Aerial views show the expanse of green space at the rear of the school. Chickens, apple trees and the new Biophilic Garden will serve as part of the school’s urban agriculture program and offer a dedicated space for students and staff to reconnect with nature. Photo Courtesy of Patrick Ross Photography

A ‘Biophilic Garden’ is the latest addition to the progressive program and will serve as a place for the urban agriculture program to expand its curriculum and as an area of respite for students and staff. HCM Landscape and Design Architects worked with local non-profits and landscapers to plant, water and ready the garden for the fall semester’s start.

Sixth-graders stopped by their orientation to take part in the planting!

Coinciding with the opening of the garden is the introduction of an innovative study in partnership with Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning to study the effects of biophilic elements inside the classroom. The researchers will study how biophilic learning environments correlate with stress reduction and enhanced cognitive performance toward improved learning outcomes for urban middle school students. Funded by an AIA Upjohn Research Grant, this study aims to provide evidence of the link between biophilic classroom design and student success.

A preview of the biophilic classroom shows natural patterns on the walls and on the carpet, a soothing wave pattern across the ceiling and solar-responsive shades offer views of the garden in coordination with the sunlight.

 

Hord Coplan Macht Landscape Architect Josh Kilrain talks about the project:

Hord Coplan Macht Introduces Biophilic Design to West Baltimore from Hord Coplan Macht on Vimeo.

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