Center recognized for architectural excellence


WESTERVILLE — The American Institute of Architects Columbus Chapter recently awarded BrightPath Active Learning Center with a 2023 Merit Award for Large Project.

BrightPath is a nature-based academic enrichment program for children aged 5-8, including full-day programs. According to the architect, Columbus-based MKC Architects, nearby communities are in need of child care and educational programs in addition to traditional schooling.

Located in Genoa Township, the project’s aim was to make quality education available to all. As such, keeping construction costs down while maximizing learning areas were primary design drivers from project inception. To further reduce costs, Brightpath utilizes the efficiency of a modular pre-engineered building. The school’s regularity creates a sequence of “function-modules” that connect in different configurations to create smaller or larger spaces — depending upon class size. The project also features expandable classrooms for larger events.

The school features a primary entrance that is intersected by a secondary cross axis, which defines the circulation patterns of the school. Along this cross-axis spine is the lobby, gathering areas and classrooms. Moreover, the corridor includes built-in storage, communal sinks, and informal gathering areas.

Head juror Diane Jocobs commented: “Elegant, enthusiastic approach to program. Beautiful, simple forms accessible to all. Expressive and timeless. … shows that limited resources don’t equate to limited experiences.”

BrightPath provides a rich interaction between surfaces that create meaningful experience. Specialized hardwood siding is paired with custom oversized barn doors to give the exterior a rich and inviting texture. Integrated and covered porches provide protection from harsh sunlight and heat gain. High ceilings allow light to enter deep within the building. Extended linear forms with operable windows and doors provide large amounts of ventilation.

In total, 11 projects were honored with an award this year. BrightPath was the only project from Delaware County.

Submitted by the American Institute of Architects Columbus Chapter.

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