Community Architecture

Advanced Learning Library Children’s STEAM Garden

About the Project

WDM was engaged to complete an unfinished outdoor space into a vibrant, safe and ADA-inclusive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) learning space.

Design constraints included:

  • Extend the library’s “Seven Styles of Learning” theme
  • Working within the confines of the pre-configured space
  • Making use of the infrastructure installed during building construction
  • Not attaching to existing structures
  • Elements to be added to the space needed to be durable and low-maintenance for staff

The garden is located on the southwest corner of the building, on concrete with artificial turf and enclosed by walls and fences, so the design required shade elements. To pay tribute to both Wichita’s major industry and also to a major underwriter of the project, oversized aluminum “paper airplanes” became the inspiration to provide the necessary shade. The airplanes are hung from a cable system supported by oversized columns. Each plane is color-coordinated to match folding instructions on “clouds” mounted to the Corten fence.