The Little Light House
The Little Light House is dedicated to building brighter tomorrows for children with special needs. Spears | Lamb - mha, doing business as Mike Hughes Architects, have designed a new two-story, 40,000 square-foot addition to the existing 20,000 square-foot school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The overall design was inspired by the Fibonacci spiral typified in nature by the logarithmic spiral growth of nautilus shells.
The entire addition is designed to admit natural daylight and to work with the climate and unique site conditions. The concourse leading from the student entry, existing classrooms, and lobby area to the new classrooms is deliberately curved. A curved path will be much more comfortable for a student with visual or hearing impairments to navigate than a straight line space. Color, texture, and material changes will also be used to give cues for way-finding. The curvilinear shape will help to dampen sound which is known to frighten some children with autism. The curve also helps to visually shorten the length of the hallway which will aid students who have difficulty with depth perception.
Classroom pods are grouped around a student toilet room, equipment storage room and a shared courtyard. The courtyard is enclosed by a wall that is high enough to allow a student to feel safe and undistracted, and yet low enough for a teacher to be able to have some visual relief from her taxing duties. A play structure within each classroom may also function as a cocoon for a child that needs to get away from the classroom activities for a time.