Comprehensive Building Design Studio Final Winter Review


414  Comprehensive Urban Building Design Studio

Students conceive and develop a design proposal for the school whose future location they were asked to designate as part of their Fall term project. The school will be a charter middle school (grades 6-8), intended to provide a neighborhood-controlled alternative to the public school serving the same catchment area. It has also been deemed a “Magnet”, offering a particular focus on science, technology and the arts. It is aimed (and should be designed) to attract not just local students, but those from throughout the district. This school is also distinguished by the fact that it will serve as a demonstration project for the larger district in providing special services for homeless family education, offering extended stay school services, additional health and hygienic services. 

Some notes about its specific components: the school contains an even number of classrooms, to facilitate team teaching: 12 classrooms, 5 labs and one “flex” classroom. The flex classroom also doubles as a tech center which must be accessible to community use during off-hours. This is also the case for the Multi-Purpose space. Off-hours community access to these may be provided in another location than that for school hours/student entry. Though students may always eat in the 150-seat Cafetorium, the lunch shelter should be immediately accessible from the former, as well as to the food service area. As its name implies, the Cafetorium is the also site of most school assemblies, though larger gatherings such as theatrical and sports events may be held in the multi-purpose room, which should be designed with that in mind. The Library includes most elements of the new district standard: stacks and reading areas are increased in number, as are support spaces for the increased number of students. 

Finally, some notes on access/security. The school must have a single point of entry for all students, which should be adjacent to and visible from the administrative office suite. The school must also have a drop-off/pick area both for parents’ cars (enough for 3 cars to line up), as well as for buses shuttling kids in from elsewhere in the district (2 school buses in length). These may be continuous or separate. The parking lot is for staff parking only. While the outdoor play and parking areas must be fenced and securable, off hours access to both is permissible and encouraged, provided it is controlled using the school as a portal.