Building a collaborative space

Developing Options for Blocks

How it looks

Lyndhurst Elementary School has served the West Baltimore community for almost 100 years, and is a highly visible part of a larger, billion-dollar initiative across Maryland to renovate and improve public schools.

As part of the project, a nearby middle school was slated to close and the student population absorbed into Lyndhurst. The school is an important hub and centerpiece for the surrounding neighborhood, and a report from the city planning department said that the expansion and renovation project was an opportunity to increase community pride and engage the neighborhood.

STV Architects, which has a speciality in K-12 building work, was engaged as the architecture firm for the project. Kyle Kramer, AIA + LEED AP, is an architect with STV who was managing the construction phase of the project; he says breathing new life into the building was a big theme of the project.

“It’s built with collaborative spaces for each grade level, clustering rooms around a large community gathering space,” Kramer says. “We wanted to give the building some character to be welcoming, because the community is going to be using it too. We wanted to use color to activate the space it make it playful, and also use sustainably sourced materials to help qualify for LEED credits.”

The head designer of the project requested a sample kit from Kingston Block & Masonry, and had quite a few options to choose from.

“I think that relationship between the designer and KB&M really helped develop the options during the design phase,” says Kramer. “We knew we wanted a masonry unit, because much of the surrounding community is constructed the same way. We selected a tri-color block and it integrates with what was already there, but it’s also a new look for the community.”

Once the block was ordered and delivered on time, Kramer says that Turner Construction Company did a great job getting it installed to specification.

“The block looks absolutely phenomenal on the school,” says Kramer. “It’s just as much the way it was installed. It really accentuates the quality of the blocks too.”

Kramer says that the project is seeking a LEED silver credit, and that the block will help them in that pursuit.

We wanted to use color to activate the space it make it playful