In Nassau, Bahamas, architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson has debuted its design for a major educational community, with a recent groundbreaking ceremony for a new Lyford Cay International Baccalaureate School campus.


Building off the firm's initial 2016 master plan for the prestigious independent day school, the new design work aims to enhance the growing institution’s academic, sporting, and co-curricular offerings for students in Pre-K through grade 12. With construction now officially underway, Cooper Robertson’s scheme centers on an entirely new, 17-acre Upper School campus, which will house 350 students in grades six through 12, allowing a re-purposing of the Lower School for the sole use of the younger pupils.


Key elements of Cooper Robertson’s design vision include renovations to early learning classrooms and construction of a new, 5,200-square-foot multi-purpose building at the Lower School. For the new Upper School campus, elegantly proportioned courtyards and extensively landscaped grounds are the central organizing elements, connecting a series of academic and multi-purpose buildings realized in a contextual vernacular architecture. State-of-the art facilities include a dedicated S.T.E.A.M. building with science labs, art studios and music recital rooms; a multi-function gymnasium, auditorium and performing arts venue; a large rotunda hall for dining, receptions and events; a grass-terraced amphitheater; and two general classroom buildings.


“As one of the global community’s leading International Baccalaureate schools, an effective long-range vision is essential for Lyford Cay International School’s continued success,” says John Kirk, AIA, partner at Cooper Robertson. “Our work charts an effective course by building on core principles that guide the best institutional place making: Great outdoor rooms, architecture that embraces context and enhances the community, and innovative facilities that respond to the needs of today’s students and administrators while anticipating the future."


A recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Lyford Cay international School Upper School campus was attended by community and school leaders, representatives of the design team, and dignitaries including Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas. Construction is anticipated to continue through fall 2020. Cooper Robertson was also engaged to prepare a master planning process for Lyford Cay Club, a 1,000-acre private community adjacent to the school, and is currently involved in developing building designs for the first phase of improvements envisioned by the master plan.


Cooper Robertson’s involvement in the these ambitious projects adds to the firm's growing international portfolio and highlights decades of experience in planning and architectural work for educational organizations and independent schools. The projects for Lyford Cay International School are the latest in a long of educational planning and design work, including for the New York Botanical Garden’s Edible Academy and for the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, both in the Bronx, and the Harlem Village Academies High School and Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.