Design Award Entries

Marygrove Early Education Center

The Marygrove Early Education Center (Marygrove EEC) is a state-of-the-art early childhood education center located on the campus of Marygrove College in the Livernois-McNichols district of northwest Detroit. Marygrove EEC supports 150 students up to five years of age from diverse local neighborhoods. The Marygrove EEC extends the legacy of Marygrove as a beacon of education and contributes to ongoing efforts to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood.

Project Statement

The Marygrove Early Education Center (Marygrove EEC) is a state-of-the-art early childhood education center located on the campus of Marygrove College in the Livernois-McNichols district of northwest Detroit. Marygrove EEC supports 150 students up to five years of age from local neighborhoods, which reflects the diversity of the community. The Marygrove EEC extends the legacy of Marygrove as a beacon of education and contributes to its ongoing efforts to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood.

Set just east of the flagship building on the Marygrove campus, Marygrove EEC, the four-story Tudor Gothic Liberal Arts building from 1927, is both resonant and deferential, clad in terra-cotta within a low but distinct profile. Referring to the detail and heft of materials used in the Marygrove EEC’s neighbors and the broader memory of historic masonry structures in Detroit, the facade represents a progressive twenty-first-century application of a traditional building material. Colorful highlights are interspersed throughout the facade, providing a second layer of articulation that reflects the vibrancy of the children inside and the diversity of the surrounding community.

Three courtyards bring abundant natural light inside and highlight the journey from the entrance to the classrooms. Adjacent to the building entrance are resources for families and the community of caregivers within the neighborhood, including a Parent Lounge, Community Room, and the Flex Space. At the heart of the building, beside the central courtyard, is an informal community gathering space for school performances, meetings, and events. Each classroom has a view to the landscape, and south-facing rooms open directly onto a grove of trees that is now a large natural play space.

Through careful design and planning, the Marygrove EEC serves families and provides a safe, nurturing, and inspiring environment for children to grow socially, physically, and intellectually. The Marygrove EEC offers a place for children to experience the rhythm of the days and seasons, inspiring their imaginations, empowering them to learn through play and creativity. It imparts dignity, grace, and joy to the children, families, and community members that the center serves.