Flance Early Learning Center

Architect: Trivers Associates

Owner: St. Louis Housing Authority

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Category Three: Community–Informed Design Award


Sited on one of the last failed public housing high-rise structures in St. Louis, this early childhood center aspires to proactively alter the course of the most impoverished zip code in Missouri. The design process involved meetings with community leaders, volunteers, and private partners to address the needs of children and the neighborhood. The program’s instruction, daycare, nutrition education, and integrated wellness center for 164 children of mixed-incomes is unique among other childcare centers.

The massing of the center provides an abstracted, organic-formed facade which creates a shaded interstitial porch for each classroom’s outdoor access. Like dappling light through a tree canopy, perforated metal filters the light, shading the south and west-facing glass, contributing to the facility’s pending LEED certification. A sophisticated yet playful palate fills the interior with light and energy, allowing the building to remain a canvas for learning and creating.  It starts early, nurturing one child at a time.

Additional information

Developer: McCormack Baron Salazar Inc.

Engineer (civil): Civil Design Inc.

Engineer (MEP): SSC Engineering Inc.

Engineer (structural): SSC Engineering Inc.

General contractor: Brinkmann Simms Construction

Landscape architect: SWT Design

Partner: Urban Strategies Inc.; University City Children's Center


Katherine Williams, AIA, (Chair) Fifth Generation Holdings, Falls Church, Virginia

Danielle Arigoni, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC

Joe Digrado, AIA, Danielian Associates, Irvine, California

Blake Held, AIA, Blake H. Held Architect, PLLC, Honeoye Falls, New York

Rachelle Levitt, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC

Charles Mudede, The Stranger (Journalist), Seattle, Washington

David Perkes, AIA, Mississippi State University GCCDS, Biloxi, Mississippi

Image credits

Flance1_credit Alise O'Brien Photography

Alise O'Brien Photography

Flance2_credit Alise O'Brien Photography

Alise O'Brien Photography

Flance3_credit Alise O'Brien Photography

Alise O'Brien Photography

Flance4_credit Alise O'Brien Photogaphy

Alise O'Brien Photography

Flance5_credit Flance Early Learning Center

Flance Early Learning Center