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© Lesley Unruh



The Barker Associates Architecture Office and 4|Mativ Design Studio situated in a new mixed-use development in Brooklyn,  designed Mi Casita Preschool and Cultural Center in collaboration.

An interesting compositions of colors, shapes, light and playful use of scale that induces a feeling of warmth and interest for school children.

The program asked for three classrooms to occupy a large space with 15ft ceilings on the ground floor of the building with a lower level for support programming.  The space is organized around an L-shaped trough sink that develops into a social gathering spot and that also serves as a bathroom sink. 

Divisions between rooms are made with furniture to maintain flexibility so that the space can be converted for special events including performances organized by the school’s artist-in-residence.

The school’s focus on being a “home away from home” and learning from the diverse cultures that coexist in Brooklyn led the designers to incorporate graphic elements pertaining to home and city in the design of the space. 

A large house-shaped vitrine on the mezzanine will showcase seasonal displays pertaining to the curriculum. House-shaped cutouts in the walls provide  reading nooks and passages through the space of children size. A graphic that references the city skyline in shades of pale blue in the tile mosaic around the bathroom and trough sink  and is echoed as a linear element in the window treatment.

The use of colors that evoke a dramatic effect throughtout the space. The turquoise on the ceiling and suspended light globes give the sense of being under a radiant blue sky. The cutouts in the walls and accent elements in the space have orange color.   Stairs leading down to the parent-co-working space are Orange-lined.

Being a preschool, Mi Casita fits the scales of a small child as it helps to develop exploration and curiosity. The fundamental design development extends from tile patterns and surfaces to perspectives based on a child’s height and  creating occasions where they can receive things that adults can’t perceive.