Kresge Wins International Architecture Award for Marygrove Early Education Center

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Kresge Wins International Architecture Award for Marygrove Early Education Center

The Kresge Foundation received a prestigious International Architecture Award for commissioning the Mary Grove Early Education Center as part of a broader partnership to transform the former Mary Grove College campus from an innovative cradle into a career education campus.

Kresge is awarded biennially by the ALA-Assoarchitetti (Italian Association of Professional Architects) for commissioning the Marygrove Early Education Center to design the 28,000 square foot building and selecting Marlon Blackwell Architects of Fayetteville, Arkansas One of twelve esteemed Dedalo Minosse Awards. The center opened last August to her 144 students from birth to her 5th birthday.

Kresge is one of four non-Italian winners and the only US-based Client Architect winner.

Awarded since 1997, the award celebrates the unique connection between clients and architects necessary to create inspiring architecture.

Wendy Lewis Jackson, Managing Director of the Detroit Program, attended Kresge’s award last Friday in Vicenza, Italy, alongside architect Marlon Blackwell.The ceremony was held on the 16thth The century-old Theater Olimpico, designed by Andrea Palladio, is considered one of the world’s most influential architects of the Italian Renaissance.

Cressge Detroit Program Managing Director Wendy Lewis Jackson and Architect Marlon Blackwell receive the Dedalo Minos Award. On the left is Dr. Valentina Galán, Director of Cultural Heritage and Activities in the Veneto Region.

After receiving the award, Jackson praised the work of the Blackwell team in engaging the community to create “transformative spaces that demonstrate the dignity of young children.” It is a grand and integral part of a neighborhood working towards a revival.…To see this Detroit project honored by an international panel of judges is a great honor for us to see Mary Grove his campus his partners An incredible validation of what we have achieved with “

Blackwell said: This really highlights the value of a well-designed public project like the Marygrove Early Education Center and the positive educational impact it provides to the community with dignity, wonder and joy!”

In announcing this year’s awards, Dedalo Minosse Awards Director Marcella Gabbiani said of the event: People all over the world can communicate with each other and perceive it as the most authentic form of true beauty and quality of life. “

Wendy Lewis-Jackson of Cresge called the Center “a transformative space that demonstrates the dignity of young children.” (Photo credit Tim Hursley)

The awards ceremony was followed by a two-day symposium where Dan Pitera, Dean of the School of Architecture and Community Development at the University of Detroit-Mercy, joined Jackson and Blackwell for a panel discussion on Detroit’s leadership in community-engaging design projects. I participated. The Detroit Collaborative Design Center at the University of Detroit Mercy led all community engagements at the Marygrove Early Education Center.

An exhibition of the winners will be held to coincide with the award in Vicenza and will travel to 50 cities, including Detroit.

In the materials submitted to the awards committee, the architects noted that the 2,200-strong campus was built in 1927 to reconcile function and aesthetics with a campus dominated by a four-story Tudor Gothic liberal arts building built in 1927. I described the challenges of designing a million-dollar building.

The corridors of the building run along courtyards where children and staff play.
The courtyard connects the building to the outdoors and brings natural light inside. (Photo credit Tim Hursley)

The Marygrove Early Education Center is charming in its own right, with a low but distinctive profile that slopes upwards towards the Liberal Arts Building, while partly in tune with the campus. The horizontal one-story center is also connected to the surrounding campus tree landscape.

Also, available space ruled out a typical one-story bar design, so the Blackwell team wrapped the bar around itself so that every classroom has outdoor access.

Meanwhile, the terracotta cladding in the center’s multicolored vertical stripes draws inspiration from traditional African-American quilts from Giesbend, Alabama, to Detroit’s history with the mass migration of blacks from the South. This “Court of Many Colors” includes those that lead to the stone and brick colors of the old campus buildings, as well as the more vibrant tones that make them stand out. .

A photo of the building highlighting the color of the exterior.
Multicolored cladding is a key element of the center’s design. (Photo credit Tim Hursley)

The Marygrove Early Education Center is one component of campus-linked P-20 educational opportunities that span prenatal through pre-kindergarten, K-12 through college, and ultimately workforce development support.Mary Grove school opened in September 2019 with first class of nineth grade student. New grades are added each year, with the first graduation ceremony taking place in June 2024.

Marygrove Elementary School, located in the building that began as Immaculata High School and later became home to Bates Academy, welcomed its first Kindergarten, and twondWe upgraded our students last month and added more grades each year until we fully complemented the K-8 as a feeder to our high school.

The Early Education Center is operated by Starfish Family Services. Marygrove schools are operated by the Detroit Public Schools Community District, both of which collaborated with the University of Michigan School of Education to establish a P-20 partnership on the former Marygrove College campus, now overseen by the Marygrove Preserve. placed under its umbrella. Conservation and partnerships are supported by the Kresge Foundation.

This is not the first architecture award associated with an early education center.

In 2019, Blackwell received the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal Award, the highest award of the year. Past winners include Michael Graves, Frank Gehry, IM Pei, Buckminster Fuller, Frank Lloyd Wright and Eero Saarinen. , Eliel Saarinen, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The center was announced last month to receive an Honorary Award for Buildings from AIA Detroit (the Metro Detroit chapter of the American Institute of Architects). In the judges’ words, “Bright, vibrant and playful structures evoke joy and are carefully woven into the fabric of both natural and man-made environments.”

“School is often an uninspired, overly schematic and repetitive space,” said Blackwell. At Marygrove, he said, his team was able to “challenge poor building types.”

By the way, Dedalo Minos is named after the first architect of Greek mythology and his first clients, Dedalos and King Minos.