Hilltop Children’s Center

Seattle, WA

At the outset of this project, a vision was set forth to create an environment that is supportive of Hilltop’s Reggio Emelia inspired approach to early childhood education. Many examples of this support are present in the physical facility are described below.

Arrival/Transition: The arrival to Hilltop Children’s Center is one that is meant to support the transition from home to this wonderful environment. The entry space has been envisioned to be a place to pause, a place that is comfortable, yet a place that reflects the playful spirit of Hilltop.

Movement/Flow: The curved walls that link the spaces were inspired by the relationship that Hilltop has with the canal and its aquatic qualities, resulting in a flowing experience both inside and outside of the classrooms.

Perspective-taking: The glass blocks reinforce the concept of perspective-taking for all, big and small, who visit Hilltop. Offering wavy glimpses into and out of each classroom allows for a spontaneous, yet intentional experience.

Embrace/Connectedness: In conjunction with the glass blocks, the balance of solid walls and transparent vistas reinforce the idea of holding the children yet emphasizing the connection to others.

Materiality: A variety of materials are employed to support the visual and tactile experience at Hilltop—natural wood, glass, concrete (ground to expose the rocks that reside in it, called aggregate). Recycled rubber flooring was used throughout due to its comfort, durability and recycled nature.