Page C2.1 . 25 July 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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    Designing Schools Together

    by Sharon A. Poor

    When the architecture firm of Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc. begins planning for a new school or renovation, they call on the help of hundreds. Although huge teams are not always the most efficient, the architects believe that ultimately they will yield the best result.

    This collective design work is conducted in "charrettes," or intensive, interactive, public design sessions. Teams of architects, engineers, and educational facilities planners set up design stations in a central location such as a school district's headquarters.

    The charrettes often run for two days and into the evening so that local residents can stop by after work or school, review the designs in progress, and offer their opinions. Teachers come by with classes, college students stop in, and school board members visit to scrutinize the evolving concepts.

    At a recent charrette for a replacement facility for Linden Elementary School, in Columbus, Ohio, for example, students offered ideas such as "making the building bigger and safer, creating larger hallways, and providing air-conditioning."

    These sessions conclude with final presentations of the design schemes prepared by each team. The architects then apply the feedback received in their schematic designs.

    One Student's Input.

    At a charrette held at the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), The goal for these charrettes was the development of conceptual designs for a comprehensive modernization program, to create a framework for future design initiatives for new and modernized building projects.



    ArchWeek Photo

    A member of the Linden Elementary Student Council works with John G. Willi, AIA, of Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc., to develop a design concept for a new school in Columbus, Ohio.
    Photo: Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc.

    ArchWeek Photo

    FHA's elementary/middle school in Fort Recovery, Ohio also involved a series of on-site design sessions with administrators, staff, students, and community.
    Photo: Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc.


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