Observe-Make-Reflect[ion]

“Observe”, “Make” and “Reflect” were previously defined by Katie Moore as part of her concept of “play”. Together, the three elements create the cyclical process that is learning. The architectural strategy behind the OSLA playground is to create spatial definition for three cohorts while openly connecting each design focus area to the cohorts.

In the observe cohort, the students in a cohort attempt to independently or dependently comprehend a subject. After the initial gathering of knowledge, the students attend the make cohort; there the students engage in hands-on activity to further discover more knowledge regarding the subject. Then, in the reflect cohort, any discrepancy between different students’ or groups’ discoveries would be addressed and the topic would be applied to the students’ lives outside of school. In identifying the cohorts by this method, students are not left to stagnate within a “home” cohort. Instead, they are meant to transition from cohort to cohort and understand how the spatial differences can be tailored to the different types of learning.

At this stage of design development, we are managing the integration of the initial design concepts with the building’s geometry set-out. The preexisting geometry of the hexagonal grid inscribed by a pentagonal grid allows us to identify structured spaces for the school’s program. Also, the arrangement of each shapes’ corner gives us the locations for our columns. Understanding each adjacent face that two programs share is a boundary defined by the geometry set-out. Structurally, that boundary may be a split floor level, a line of columns and a beam over-head. Fundamentally, the shared faces create the interactive barriers shared between different elements of the program. These boundary spaces are designed with the intention of creating an open relationship between each large pentagonal room, to foster interdisciplinary communication.

Additionally, understanding the material of the façade and the assembly system will reflect the internal geometry in the building’s exterior elevation. Any indication of a column within the building would easily be read by the vertical arrangement of our façade panels extending from ground to roof, covering any exterior views of the columns.

The consideration of daylight informed decisions to develop the roof form. Implementing skylights that are crafted by the geometry set-out let daylight in. Applying the geometry set-out to the skylights further enforces how the geometry set-out influences our formal decisions. Structuring these skylights can bring forth interesting architectural and spatial opportunities. We intend to have the skylights extend from the roof to the floors below. By stretching the skeletal frame of the skylights to the top of grade slab, the columns become visual anchors located in the school’s central atrium.

To continue developing our school, we need to express play in a more explicit manner through the architecture. Looking at the current microprogram diagrams, there are too many stark similarities between each cohort. Redesigning some of the interior spaces to suit each cohort will architecturally, make the learning process more effective and memorable.

Each design strategy is meant to reference the geometry setout but is also meant to tie into the greater concept. Looking at the roof form, it appears rather flat and doesn’t necessarily represent any idea of playfulness. To address this issue, we are exploring the spatial capabilities of our skylights. Rather than just having them come down into the space, the can also manipulate the roof form for the spaces above. Creating dimples and pockets on the roof level will create a variety of sweeping curves in elevation that would appear to be more spatially intriguing and interactive.

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