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The Joy School

Location: Houston, TX
Year Completed: 2009

RdlR designed The Joy School (TJS) campus to encourage school community, accommodate growth and provide a place where “learning is a joy.” TJS is committed to helping children with learning differences reach their academic, social and creative potential by providing an environment that is safe, supportive and innovative where they can learn successfully.

The TJS Master Plan was developed to support the idea of family, provide for growth of up to 400 students and still retain their unique educational environment. The site plan design maximizes the urban site to capacity—while making it appear spacious—and fully addresses the needs of the client. RdlR located the new building at the edge of the property not only to save a number of historic oak trees, but also to allow a maximum amount of green area where the students can play and learn.

The architectural design of the new campus celebrates the school’s heritage and communal culture from the front porch entry to the lobby feature wall, incorporating wood flooring salvaged from the residential structures demolished on-site. Bright interior colors are cheerful and playful, yet clean. Pocket doors between classrooms enable teachers to participate in each other’s classes and joint principal offices allow for spontaneous team meetings.

Emphasis was placed on maximizing quality natural light in classrooms and work areas. In keeping with the notion of healthy environments, the architecture reflects sustainable building practices including non-toxic finishes, low water and energy consumption measures, low-impact materials and construction methods, and efficient building operations. The result was a “Green School” that costs less to operate and is healthy for users.


“RdlR created a place that breathes love, happiness, and joy in all who enter through the doors!”

Laura Rodriguez | Admissions Director, Joy School