When Alex Short (80short) and I went into this quarter as a team, we knew we had similar mindsets and issues we wanted to address. We both agreed that while collaboration is an important aspect of learning, individual exploration and freedom is equally necessary; so when we received eyarosh’s winter quarter project, Stumble Upon Learning, we thought that his concept of sectional hierarchy between group and individual spaces was a good starting point for an organizational concept. Similarly, when we looked at his large, subtly modulating roof, we saw that as a possible formal driver.
Through both physical modeling and discussion with word and drawings, we developed two separate languages we would use to organize the programmatic space of the school and also cater to both individual and group learning styles. This idea was partly manifest as a spatial representation of one of John Dewey’s ideas on education. The following graphic became our concept statement, and explains in detail how both of these languages were devised, and how they tie back to John Dewey’s idea.
As both the grounded and lifted spaces started to develop co-dependently, the idea of splicing became evident on the second floor where the floating commons space began to twist and weave through the separated clusters of mass. On the first and third levels, however, the languages were kept more in-tact, and the spaces were molded not so much in response to each other as they were to their respective “grounding” elements. For the first story this grounding element was the landscape, and for the third floor it was the unifying roof from which it hung. The perspectives below show the unique character of each level that was created through our splicing concept.
As the grounded spaces ultimately made up most of the prescribed program, we viewed each interest group as its own mass that was split from the others and united by the commons. How the interest groups were organized followed ideas of service/utility and equality. Spaces like the shop that needed some sort of access ports for larger supplies were moved to the outer perimeter of the design, while spaces more involved with building and assembly were focused inwards on the outdoor space that split the two bars of our building.
Our day in the life diagram focused on giving the viewer a sense of the sectional organization and how different sized groups would function in these spaces.
The final piece of our project, which supports the third and second floors, is the roof and the roof structure. As part of the lifted language we developed, both the roof and its structure were meant to appear light and open. We used a space truss design, and began to modulate the span to depth ratios of each unit in the truss in order to achieve a subtle modulation in the top plane. We used this modulation to also enclose space on the third floor, and it began to inform the shape of what was below; so where the third level pathway was, the depth of the members shrunk and allowed for headroom; where only the second floor or ground was below, the members depth was exaggerated and moved down past the third story itself.
As part of our wall section development for the quarter, Alex and I decided to mesh two of our ideas into a cohesive wall system we dubbed the hacka[wall]. The hacka[wall]s in our design are graphically depicted as orange planes in both the section perspective and day-in-the-life diagram above, and one is linked to each homeroom as a way for that group of 30 students to create their own group identity. The basic idea behind the hacka[wall] is that the students can easily edit either the graphic quality or actual makeup of the wall by using 2×6 studs as building blocks; the key for me, however, was that there would be no tools involved in removing this timber cladding, but that a simple lever mechanism could be operated to independently remove each piece of the wall. Alex then brought in the idea of making the wall horizontally operable like a barn door, so that each homeroom would have the option of opening up and focusing outwards into the school, or closing and focusing inwards on their own ideas.
And last but not least, our final model was meant to highlight the concept of splicing and the two separate languages on a whole building scale, something that is hard to do within a single render or perspective.