About Us

Working together as Spaces for Children, architect Charles Durrett and educational consultant Louis Torelli have designed and renovated hundreds of childcare centers and classrooms throughout the country. They merge quality physical design with quality program design to provide children with an environmentally and emotionally supportive group care experience.

Spaces for Children creates developmentally appropriate spaces that enhance a child’s growth and that are convenient and a pleasure for teachers to use. Aesthetically pleasing, long lasting designs promote child development and attract and maintain high-caliber staff. Teachers who feel comfortable and effective in their classrooms provide the continuity essential to a child’s sense of well being.

The firm’s hands-on approach includes time spent with teachers and administrators, observation of existing facilities if applicable, and, at the completion of construction, staff training and follow-up.

The principals’ expertise ranges from programming to building design, from classroom layout to furniture and outdoor play yard design, from the specifics of appropriate materials, fastenings, and finishes that assure optimum play value, child safety, and durability to the selection of low-toxic materials and optimization of indoor air quality. It is this knowledge, developed through working together as a team on a large number of projects, that sets Spaces for Children apart from other architecture firms designing childcare facilities.

Background of Principals

Louis Torelli, M.S.Ed

Louis is known nationwide as a premier child development environmental designer. He is credited for developing the “state of the art” standards for today’s childcare centers for newborns through preschool-age children. The number of childcare facilities he has programmed and designed likely exceeds that of any other individual. His personal experience as a childcare teacher and as a trainer, college instructor, and consultant to childcare providers brings unparalleled expertise and insight to each project.

A frequent speaker at conferences throughout the country, Louis also consults regularly to childcare centers and Early Head Start programs. Louis is on the faculty of West Ed’s “Program for Infant and Toddler Caregivers” Training of Trainers Institute, and consulted on the development of PITC Space to Grow DVD and Setting up Environments training manual. He is the author of many articles on space design, and, the coauthor (with Doris Bergen and Rebecca Reid) of Educating and Caring for Very Young Children: The Infant/Toddler Curriculum, published by Teachers College Press.

Louis holds an undergraduate degree in early childhood education from Queens College and a graduate degree in Infant and Toddler Development and Behavior from Wheelock College (1983).

Charles Durrett, Architect

As Principal Architect, Charles Durrett closely follows each of the firm’s childcare projects all the way through, paying close attention to design, construction quality, and costs. Before establishing his own firm, Charles worked directly with the Mayor of San Francisco to supervise a city-wide childcare building program. In the span of three years, he designed and completed 17 childcare centers through this program. He has extensive knowledge of legal case studies regarding childcare facilities, an expertise that is particularly relevant in this new field where codes provide minimal guidance. He has also spent two years carrying out extensive study of Scandinavian childcare centers and housing. In addition to the creation of childcare facilities and childcare furniture, Charles is internationally known for his design of cohousing communities across the U.S. and Canada, and is coauthor of the books, Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves and Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living. Charles is a California licensed architect and holds a professional architecture degree from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo (1982).

Kathryn McCamant, Architect

Kathryn McCamant, Principal Architect, has acted as the firm’s project manager for a wide variety of projects including the new Children’s Center at San Francisco State University. She brings to projects her attentiveness to detail, organization, and the client’s needs at every stage. Kathryn also has extensive experience in facilitation of participatory design processes as well as in housing design and development. She is a California licensed architect and holds her architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley (1983).