Asakura Robinson’s scope was to design all campus outdoor spaces to accommodate students with behavioral challenges, and fragile medical conditions, as well as a broad range of abilities for faculty, staff, and families of the students.
The Rosedale School serves 100 +/- AISD students from ages 3-22 with severe special needs, including children who are medically fragile or need intensive behavioral support. The dream of stakeholders and the design team was a school that reflects experiences students often lack: the unique experience of Austin and a connection to nature and the outdoors.
The desired experience was a ‘School Within a Park.’ The new building strives to provide a welcoming, empowering, and community-focused school. Its composition creates spaces that encourage a sense of belonging and learner choice.
1. The school arrival area is important for student transitions that are welcoming, comfortable, and feels like part of the neighborhood. Round, soft corners and wide paths were designed to provide ease of transfer for all abilities.
2. The campus features playgrounds for all abilities which include swings built to accommodate motorized wheelchairs.
3. Varied courtyard spaces include a behavioral learning courtyard, a medically fragile courtyard, and a memorial garden to commemorate students’ lives.
4. The memorial courtyard is an enclosed space with a strong connection to nature, a garden path, an area for Memorial gatherings, and metal butterfly markers engraved with students’ names.
5. Sensory gardens provide sensory plants, textured surfaces, and connections to wildlife.
6. Learning courtyards provide self-directed learning through independent activity stations, flexible workspaces, and life skills activities.
7. Calming reflection spaces provide de-escalation areas, conversation areas, and sensory integration.
8. Outside of the campus perimeter fence is a shared-use public park with a hike and bike trail and rain gardens which mitigate water quality for the campus.
9. Campus plant materials are choreographed for year-round interest, color, and pollinator attraction.