The Pilot School

Wilmington DE

The 50-acre campus, for students ages 5-14, was designed to provide educational opportunities from inside the building and beyond into the landscape. Taking advantage of the adjacent conservation land, the site design blends existing features into the created spaces.  Ecologically focused planning efforts sought to reduce the construction impacts through material re-use and restore the landscapes natural hydrologic processes through stormwater infiltration.  Boulders excavated for the building’s foundation construction have been re-used throughout the site, most notably as the seating area for the outdoor amphitheater, but also integrated into play areas and landscape features, such as the foundation structure for the outdoor deck.  The stormwater generated by the built structures and surfaces meanders through the landscape, resting in gardens for water quality, traversing through bioswales for conveyance, and relaxing in ponds for infiltration into the natural groundwater seeps prior to entering the natural creeks in the adjacent State Park lands.  Within this ecological framework is a landscape of play with swing sets flanked by water quality gardens, bio-swales running along balance beams, and hopscotch boulders on pond weirs.