Lee Junior School

McBryde Frizzell Architects

  • Built

As the population of southwest Florida increased rapidly in the early to mid-sixties, so did the need for schools. In complete contrast to schools "up North" designed to provide refuge from the cold and snow, Florida schools were open to the outdoors and filled with daylight while covered walkways sheltered students and staff from the rain and sun.

Cross ventilation was not limited to classrooms. All rooms - offices, library, cafeteria, even the locker rooms - opened to the outdoors. "Schools of the time were very porous buildings", noted Martin Gundersen, Jr.

The buildings were purposefully arranged to create outdoor public spaces between them. These inner "courtyards", also covered, provided areas for student gatherings and socializing.

Like many mid-century buildings, advances in technology provided the opportunity for a clean modern look. Here, lightweight concrete roofs on cement-asbestos board extended beyond the walls, resting on an exposed steel structural frame, creating a very stylized appearance.

Architectural concrete screens were multi-functional, defining outdoor rooms that permitted light and ventilation while generating patterns and an obvious identity to each school.

AIA Florida Southwest Southwest Florida Museum of History Herman Miller