When we first inherited “Overlap,” the building design was focused around the idea of “the communal and the individual, the focused and the exploratory”. We tried to keep the heart of this idea, while developing it further with our own influences throughout the quarter, thus resulting in “Adaptive Overlap.” Similar to our first post as a team, we pinpointed three main words that drove our architectural strategies:
Exploration: Encouraging curiosity and movement through different spaces
Connectivity: Central commons with both courtyards branching out
Variation: Different sizes and types of areas to allow for different group sizes and learning types
Once we finalized the overall form of the building (after making changes in the angles, size, and programming) we were able to really delve deep into the interior spaces and courtyards at a human level, with those 3 key words in our minds throughout design development.
Diagramming from an early stage was something that was kind of new to both Annabelle and I, but we both found it extremely helpful having visual methods of showing our design thinking rather than just relying on our spoken presentation. Through iterations of all of the diagrams we were able to consider how best to tell our story.
(In order of appearance: Macro-programming, Circulation, HVAC, Structure, and Shading System)
One of the motivations that guided our “aesthetic” design of the exterior of the building was using the school to make a statement. We’ve had a lot of discussions about using architecture to motivate students to learn and want to go to school, because the environment that surrounds you can make a huge impact on your high school experience. While the majority of our efforts were focused inwardly by developing the Hubs, we we wanted to make sure the outdoor experience was not neglected. An thus, the beginning of the student’s journey through school begins right at the front steps:
The lower courtyard (left) was designed to allow for morning light to warm up the space, for it’s proximity to the parking lot and school entrance would encourage its primary use in the morning hours. We saw the upper courtyard more as the area that would be used during lunch and after school hours, and would be a larger gathering space lit with afternoon sun.
From the entry courtyard, the students would be encouraged to take two paths: straight into the atriums or spending time in the commons. Although the overall concept of the commons at the center of the two buildings was a strong concept and an important part of our project, if given more time it would definitely be one of our focuses to develop deeper. But for now, our main vision for the space was a bustling cafe feel that would be a comfortable place to study, talk with friends, or just relax during breaks.
And then finally, all of the students would finally end up in one of the three hubs. The idea of the Hub as this gathering place of knowledge with varying degrees of flexibility was a huge influence in our design process through the quarter. The plan for the hubs were by far the most developed focus of our project because it really got to the heart of everything our studio has been
arguing talking about. By having 4 different sized learning spaces with varying levels of flexibility, students and their mentors/ teachers would have the ability to move throughout the floor and rearrange the spaces to fit their needs and learning goals.
This quarter was filled with challenges and new experiences. This was more work produced than either Annabelle or myself had ever produced previously, and working in a team had its challenges but taking this project into design development could only be accomplished with help. When Mark first stated he expected everyone to print 8 feet by 8 feet (or whatever it was) the entire class seemed shocked, because how could we produce THAT much? Even if we didn’t say anything, I know I at least briefly considered his sanity. But through blood, sweat and tears (literally) we did it. Was it hard work? Hell yes. But was it not only possible, but worth it? No doubt about it. Perhaps we could have collaborated more instead of dividing and conquering, but by working within our own known strengths and weaknesses we were able to accomplish more than what we thought possible. Looking back at it now, both Annabelle and Courtney are proud of their strong marriage and watching their adopted child grow up. It is a little hard to let go after 20 weeks of working on Open Source Learning, but now it is time to let “Adaptive Overlap” be free and leave the nest, like any good child should.
– Annabelle & Courtney