Low-VOC paints and coatings and advanced building-envelope technologies figure into many educational and cultural projects that recently hit the mark of excellence in design.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) selected 15 educational and cultural facilities for this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design Awards.
The AIA says the purpose of the awards program is to identify trends and emerging ideas, honor excellence in planning and design, and disseminate knowledge about best practices in educational and community facilities.
AIA design descriptions of the awards winners appear below along with some technologies of interest. The awards were issued in three categories: Citation, Merit and Excellence.
2012 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards
Ardmore Elementary School; Bellevue, WA
NAC | Architecture
The project explores surprise and discovery over time in a compact, yet internally transparent and deliberately porous, structure. The notion of non-linear learning is embodied in the variety of meandering paths available throughout the building, gradually revealing different spaces.
All photos courtesy of AIA, photo by Benjamin Benschneider
|Ardmore Elementary School|
Transparency also pervades the building. It is both a design tool used to amplify the interior experiential quality, as well as an “educational transparency,” designed to foster easy collaboration and an overall sense of community.
The project features a super-insulated building envelope, day lighting, and a number of advanced lighting controls. The design complies with the state’s standard for sustainable schools, exceeding the equivalent of a LEED Silver design.
Bowdoin College Studzinski Recital Hall; Brunswick, ME
William Rawn Associates, Architects Inc.
This 282-seat recital hall at the center of Bowdoin’s campus has been designed to accommodate a range of musical programs, including classical, jazz, world, and electronic music.
The project, which opened in May 2007, involved the radical renovation of an historic McKim, Mead, and White swimming pool into a recital hall.
Robert Benson Photography
|Bowdoin College Studzinski Recital Hall|
Abundant natural light and warm wood interiors and finishes create an intimacy supportive of student performers, while the latest A/V and acoustical technology supports innovative productions and rehearsals.
Milton Academy Pritzker Science Center;
Milton, MAWilliam Rawn Associates, Architects Inc.
The project makes science education central and visible at this private school, completing the south edge of the campus green.
Major entrances to the north and east connect to well-established campus circulation patterns; extensive exterior and interior floor-to-ceiling glass reveals not just public spaces, but the classrooms themselves.
Robert Benson Photography
The project features low-VOC paints and coatings, as well as a solar panel and a white thermoplastic polyolefin single-ply roofing system.
Redding School of the Arts; Redding, CA
Trilogy Architecture Urban Design Research
Half of the school’s learning spaces are located outdoors to increase the visual and physical connection to the outside in this design. This was made possible by the implementation of semi-conditioned spaces with summer cooling through evaporative cooling fabric ductwork and winter radiant heating timed to occupant use. The features are reported to greatly reduce operating costs.
|Redding School of the Art|
The building and site are used as a tool for teaching sustainable design features: for example, transparency into interior building workings, exposed interior structure, dashboards showing real-time energy use, and interpretive signage for building elements.
The building-envelope materials consist of a rain screen wall system, metal roofing and ultra-high efficient glazing. Zero-VOC paints were used for all interior finishes.
Betty and Norman Levan Hall, St. John’s College;
Santa Fe, NM
Lake | Flato Architects
Occupying a prominent site in the campus core, the building houses the college’s two graduate programs as well as classrooms, faculty offices, a multi-purpose meeting room, and a student common area.
Designed as a model of environmental responsibility, this LEED Gold project incorporates principles of stewardship and conservation of the adjacent natural landscape. The building is designed with outdoor meeting and study spaces immersed in the landscape of the site.
Cladding for the building features systems of stucco and weathering steel due to the high desert climate. The project also features photovoltaics, a rain water collection system, and high-performance glazing.
Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy; Dallas, TX
The design of this campus responds to the desire for varied social and learning experiences by providing large and small group instruction spaces and flexible collaboration spaces.
Environmental education and display panels in the common areas educate occupants and visitors about sustainable features in the building. Buildings placed on site were selected to minimize required earth work, while maximizing the benefits of natural light to program elements. Improved noise-control features were implemented between classrooms.
Low-VOC finishes and regional and recycled materials all played roles in construction.
MHCC Early Childcare Center; Gresham, OR
Conceived as a village of small play-learn communities, natural and man-made environments create an engaging network. Employing patterns of daylight, weather and annual seasons for inspiration, the environment invites reflection, play, and relaxation throughout the day.
|MHCC Early Childcare Center|
Deep walls provide spaces for children to claim, as well as abundant and accessible storage.
The project features solar panels, a high-efficiency building envelope, and natural and recycled materials throughout.
Portland Community College Newberg Center;
Hennebery Eddy Architects Inc.
The LEED Platinum-certified project serves as a living laboratory to study energy use and explore strategies for its reduction. Officials say the center has set a new paradigm for sustainable design at Oregon’s largest institution of higher learning.
The building is organized around a central circulation spine. Classrooms and administrative spaces flank the north side while multi-purpose rooms to the south shift and rotate in plan, creating a dynamic central commons. The large, south-facing roof reaches beyond the building’s shell to create a sheltered entry plaza—the front door to the campus.
To drive down energy use to 80% below typical U.S. college buildings, the bioclimatic design includes maximizing north and south building exposures, deep overhangs, daylight, natural ventilation, a super-insulated envelope using structurally insulated panels, and concrete floors for thermal mass.
The facility also features a 109kW roof-top photovoltaic array, including translucent panels covering the outdoor courtyard.
Riverview Elementary School; Snohomish, WA
NAC | Architecture
The wetland that claims a large portion of the site provided an opportunity to intertwine site and building design, enabling meaningful learning to happen inside and outside.
Landscape and building textures work in harmony to reflect the natural environment. Integration of the site, building and landscape design creates innovative educational opportunities that speak to stewardship of the land and instill life-long influences on our future citizens.
|Riverview Elementary School|
The building’s exterior wall cavities are filled with spray polyurethane foam insulation; the exterior is covered with rigid sheet insulation.
The Bertschi School Living Science Building; Seattle, WA
The elementary school science wing is reportedly the first project built to Living Building Challenge v2.0 standards.
Designed with the students, it follows the requirements of 20 imperatives, including net-zero water, net-zero energy and adherence to a materials “Red List,” which all must be proved over a one-year period of occupancy.
All water needed for the building is collected and treated on site, and a rain garden produces food. All gray water within the building envelope is treated through the living wall to help mitigate run-off.
All sustainable features are visible for students to help them learn ecological concepts that can become intrinsic values for future generations.
Early Learning Center; Des Plaines, IL
Wight & Company
The Early Learning Center (ELC) is a 51,000-square-foot building attached to an existing elementary school.
Sparking lifelong learning starts with the idea that architecture and natural surroundings are teaching tools, officials say. To start kids down that path, the ELC emphasized design elements below four feet high and created inside and outside learning experiences. Reading nooks with eye-level windows look out to rain gardens, courtyards offer hands-on science projects, and themed breakout areas provide spaces for unstructured learning.
The elementary school’s concrete block walls also were painted with new colors and patterns to reinvigorate the interior.
Hinman Research Building; Atlanta, GA
Lord, Aeck & Sargent in collaboration w/ Office dA
The Hinman Building’s adaptive-reuse transforms a piece of Georgia Tech’s Modernist built heritage into a new annex for the College of Architecture.
The original 50-foot-tall highbay shed has been re-programmed in the vertical axis and left flexible in plan, now featuring a studio mezzanine hung by slender rods from a re-purposed bridge crane. The building also features a 32-foot-wide vertical-lift wall/screen; a spiral stair wrapped in guardrail mesh; and an array of retractable lights. A general aesthetic of suspended filigree emerges from these elements, producing a middle ground for the space.
Joplin Interim High School; Joplin, MO
CGA Architects and DLR Group
One of the deadliest and most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history ripped through Joplin on May 22, 2011 destroying Joplin High School. Two days later, Superintendent Dr. C.J. Huff emphatically stated school would open as scheduled on August 17. An abandoned big-box retail space was selected for an adaptive reuse to house 1,200 students.
The design integrates every square inch of the existing space and features 21st-century learning environments utilizing flexibility and interconnectivity. Large openings, oversized pivot doors, and a diverse array of furniture allow students to customize spaces for collaborative learning.
Morse & Ezra Stiles Colleges at Yale; New Haven, CT
Designed by Eero Saarinen, the Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges are part of Yale’s system of residential colleges. Located on an irregular site at the western edge of the campus, the project has an organic geometry, with the two colleges bifurcated by an elevated walk.
The renovation focused on transforming the student housing mix from single rooms into suites, providing 25,000 square feet of student activity space below grade, and transforming outdoor hardscapes into a sustainable landscape.
The addition is conceived as being unified with the landscape, extending it through the architecture, fusing inside and outside, new and old, and above and below.
The primary palette of interior materials (plaster on concrete walls, slate floors and oak-veneer millwork) was salvaged where possible and replicated where insertions were required.
USAF Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD); Colorado Springs, CO
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Revisiting the campus it originally designed in 1954, the architecture firm has designed a new academic building for the U.S, Air Force Academy’s main cadet area.
The most prominent feature of the design, the 105-foot-high sky light, precisely aligns cadets inside the Honor Conference Room with the North Star, Polaris, and symbolically serves as an instrument of cadet navigation. The sky light also provides ample natural light to the forum, a central gathering space for the academic program.
Classrooms, meeting rooms, and offices ring two adjacent courtyards, maximizing exterior views and minimizing the use of artificial lighting.
The building was designed to meet LEED-Platinum certification from the USGBC, and features photovoltaics, abundant natural lighting, and high-performance glazing.
The jury consisted of Paul C. Hutton, AIA, (jury chair) Hutton Architecture Studio; David Ade, AIA, SMP Architects; Bukky Akinsanmi, AIA, Cooper Carry Architecture; Trung Le, AIA, Cannon Design; and Robert Moje, AIA, VMDO.