Meridiana Learning Labs

Client: Rise Communities

Parks Studio

One of the most unique and rewarding features of Meridiana is the number of…

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27000 sqft

Project Details

Design Features

Observation Deck


Solar System and Phases

Web-based activities

Weather Stations




Landforms for erosion and geological phenomena

Solar panels

Sun Dial

Motion and Energy Studies




One of the most unique and rewarding features of Meridiana is the number of Learning Labs that will be located throughout the community. Each will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on learning and experimentation for residents of all ages with subjects including water, weather, space, ecosystems, agriculture, force, motion, and energy. AndersonBaron has been collaborating with the Client, design team, and the Alvin ISD on the programming of the learning labs to assure that they became more than an interactive park for the community.

The design of the learning labs presented an opportunity to become environmental outdoor classrooms for the students at the adjacent schools. They will provide tangible, hands-on learning opportunities for students to link what they’re learning in their indoor classrooms. Additionally, teachers will be able to customize the labs by utilizing “QR” codes to target their students’ learning experience, and directly plan a series of experiments that can be performed to correlate with their students’ ages and studies. Meridiana Elementary is currently under construction and slated to open for the 2017 school year, and two more schools are planned within the community.

A network of primary and intermediate trails and pathways are designed and organized around each learning lab, creating a “loop” with multiple levels of connectivity: they connect the learning labs to each other, their individual neighborhoods, the greater community, adjacent schools, and the Meridiana Community Center. Each Loop is designed around a broad, macro theme with the labs along each loop emphasizing the various aspects of the theme. Common threads of the learning lab themes can be found throughout the loop, accessible for onsite teaching at any level. Regardless of the age of the user or the location within Meridiana, the Learning Labs and Loops further the idea that people acquire knowledge best when they can connect what they are learning to the real world.

The first learning lab at Meridiana is designed for discovery of the nighttime sky and its influence on historical navigation and travel, aptly named after the inventor of the telescope, Galileo. Paying homage to the Italian astronomer, physicist, philosopher and mathematician, Galileo’s Lab is roughly a half-acre in size and includes a planetarium, telescopes, planetary solar system, ship wheel and sextant, whisper catcher, fishing and observation deck, bird houses, weather station, outdoor classrooms, slides and climbing pieces, rocket landing site, benches and tables, and thematic planting. The design combines play and learning within its elements for residents or students of any age.

The interactive “Skymap” is another learning lab that’s located in the center of the Amenity Village. This is an actual map of the sun patterns etched into the pavement and mimics the motion of the sun over the course of the year. Several learning labs are planned for Meridiana, including themes of motion and energy, life sciences and the earth’s natural resources, and a discovery trail connecting them.

Services Rendered

  • Character and Theming
  • Conceptual Design
  • Construction Documentation
  • Construction Observation
  • Cost Estimates
  • Design Charettes
  • Grading design
  • Landscape & Irrigation design
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Programming
  • Project Management
  • Site Planning & Analysis