Marist School, Ivy Street Center

After five decades of building inwardly focused buildings with limited openness and connection to their surroundings, Marist School desired a both extroverted and transparent building for its new Ivy Street Center, expressing the schools’ missions of community service, respect for the environment, and development of the student as a well-rounded person.

The transparency continues on the building’s interior, helping foster programs of collaboration and team based learning.

Building Program:

  • Faculty & Office Suites
  • 16 Classrooms Spaces and furniture allow multiple configurations and student presentations; movable teacher’s podium encourages dynamic presentations; canted walls optimize view angles and utilize ‘dead’ corners for AV. 6′ wide pivoting doors open classrooms to collaboration areas. State-of-the-art classrooms accommodate a variety of learning styles and teaching styles, and are readily available for impromptu sessions.
  • Collaboration Areas -. Academic wings are divided into neighborhoods of three to four classrooms, with the collaboration areas as their focus. Learning is visible in the public corridors through display, transparency, and student activities. These areas allow for additional team based learning, project based learning, and discussion which leads to increased retention.
  • 1 tiered lecture and symposium hall – 50 students
  • Conference / project rooms
  • 275 seat Gymnasium
  • Locker rooms
  • Lobby
  • Campus Store

The Commons – An indoor / outdoor multi-function space serving the entire campus, which also meets the need for additional dining seating. Sited in an underutilized covered arcade, the space features large glass motorized hangar doors which allow for natural ventilation and indoor / outdoor use for the majority of the school year.

Site Characteristics / Constraints

Ivy Street Center’s form is a direct response to site characteristics and constraints:.

  1. The building receives two new approaches to the campus (recently constructed bridges across Nancy Creek, one pedestrian and one vehicular) with a covered drop-off canopy and a welcoming glazed lobby and campus store.
  2. Informal student paths between buildings are formalized with a covered arcade wrapping three sides of the building. This arcade ties into the iconic covered arcade of the original campus’ St. Peter Chanel building.
  3. Sited on an intermediate height plinth on the edge of a major creek’s flood plain, the building addresses storm water runoff and flooding concerns: Storm water is both captured and delayed by a combination of rain garden and a 3,400 gallon cistern. In response to flooding concerns, the building is elevated on a three foot tall plinth, expressed as a continuous set of steps along the northern edge.
  4. The Marist Campus was built originally in the 1960s in a spare, modern style, featuring brick veneer and ribbon windows buildings with flat roofs. The Ivy Street Center respects these parameters, while adding sense of welcome and transparency, recalling some elements from the previous school Ivy Street Campus including a local granite rubble columns, and vines growing up building walls.

Sustainable features

A three part Daylight Harvesting system of exterior sunshades; interior light shelves; and sloped ceilings, minimize glare, reflect, daylight deeply into rooms, and allow classroom lights to remain “off” the majority of the time.

Rain water is saved to a 3,400 gallon cistern from two sources:  the sloped gym roof and condensate from the HVAC system. The water in the cistern is used for:

  1. irrigation of the planted ‘rain garden’ area
  2. faculty demonstrations of how the system works to carry water.Water bottle refill stations reduce disposable water bottle waste.



  • Colorful sound absorbing panels in gym – made of machine pressed, recycled plastic bottles.
  • Lobby wood panels – reclaimed elm
  • Locally sourced materials
  • High performance glass