Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School

Cottonwood Classic Preparatory School

Albuquerque, NM

Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, a charter school that offers the pre-university International Baccalaureate curriculum, bought an existing one-story office building to create their permanent home.

The big design problem was how to provide straight-forward circulation patterns and daylight to each classroom, because the building was a big square with limited perimeter walls. The answer was to create a corridor system along the perimeter, so that all classrooms have sunshine coming in through borrowed light from the perimeter corridors. The school also wanted to conserve monetary and material resources; therefore, suitable finishes and elements were salvaged from the original office building and reinstalled in new configurations.

The classrooms are organized into color-coded pods to give the junior high and high schooler groups their own space and visual identity. Here, students’ performance earns the school a high spot in the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of public high schools nationwide and the #1 spot in New Mexico in 2015 and 2016.