AIA Education Design Awards
Although the material language of the large new building is one of glass and steel, the building defers in massing, siting, and articulation to McMaster Hall (1898) and a neighboring turn-of-the-century building. The architects fused Telus and McMaster with a skylit pedestrian court that links a street entrance to the concert hall and lobby.
Desert Community College
At Mesa Community College's new Saguaro Building, a series of eye-catching screens and trellises give students protection from the desert sun while creating a series of outdoor rooms. With several such features to limit heat gain and reduce cooling costs, among other green features, the building is expected to earn a LEED Gold rating.
The 42,870-square-foot (3,983-square-meter) facility combines diverse program elements — classrooms, science labs, a performance venue, and a cafe — on a scenic desert site at the edge of suburban Mesa, Arizona, on the community college's Red Mountain Campus. Several elements showcase and integrate the desert environment, such as native trees and xeriscaping, terrariums in the lobby, and bat roosts integrated into the south facade's exterior shade structures.
Working within the campus's prescribed architectural palette of red concrete masonry units and metal panels, SmithGroup designed the Saguaro Building's black box theater as an iconic element, standing out within the campus and among the surrounding stucco strip malls. The two-story theater volume is wrapped in a steel space frame, clad in perforated Corten steel. This lacy cavity is translucent in daylight and artfully backlit at night.
Sustainable Science in Philadelphia
The Germantown Friends School of Philadelphia didn't just want its Upper School's new lab classroom building to conserve resources. It also wanted the urban facility to serve as a teaching tool for science and for stewardship of the natural environment.
Designed by SMP Architects, the Sustainable Urban Science Center succeeds in this respect. One example is the school's onsite management of stormwater, which is collected in visible above-ground cisterns and also directed to rain gardens and vegetated roofs. Outside the classroom is a seminar space at an accessible portion of green roof, where small groups of students can observe and record seasonal changes during the school year.
Energy and materials are both conserved in the new building. Use of finishes was minimized, and included millwork of wheatboard and sunflower-seed board, recycled-glass ceramic tile and countertops, and even recycled-plastic toilet partitions. The project team also collaborated closely with school officials to create single-stream recycling, enabling students to measure the quantity of their recycled versus landfilled waste. The 16,400-square-foot (1,520-square-meter) building also sports a ten-kilowatt solar array.
Chicago Charter High School
John Ronan Architects designed Gary Comer College Prep on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. The two-story, 45,000-square-foot (4,200-square-meter) charter high school is LEED Silver-certified under LEED for Schools.
The building forms a campus with the adjacent Gary Comer Youth Center (which previously received design awards from AIA Chicago and the national AIA). The youth center provides gym, cafeteria, art, and music rooms for use by the high school students, allowing their building to be limited to classrooms.
Responding to the distinctive, colorful pattern of the youth center's rain-screen cladding system, the high school building features bright chartreuse-green aluminum panels. Corrugated stainless-steel siding acts as a sunscreen while still allowing views outward from the interior through perforations.
The metal siding offers a lightweight yet protective presence in a neighborhood prone to gang violence, while on the interior, glass walls between the hallway and classrooms help create an interior environment of transparency. Light passes from the corridor skylights through to the classrooms.
Four Schools in One
In suburban Marysville, Washington, north of Seattle, the development of a new high school came at a time when the embattled school district was just beginning to develop a new educational program based on the model of small learning communities, or schools-within-a-school.
Working closely with the client, architect DLR Group developed a design for the 190,000-square-foot (18,000-square-meter) Marysville Getchell High School Campus that combines four three-story buildings — one for each of the four theme-focused high schools housed onsite — with a larger building containing common space for the entire 1,600-student campus.
The architects' core-and-shell solution concentrates most load-bearing structure and plumbing in the exterior walls, with electrical and HVAC routed through floor and ceiling. This maximizes interior connectivity and flexibility. In the smaller school buildings, hallways are replaced by common spaces.
The five freestanding structures are linked by raised boardwalks, minimizing impact on the site. The village-like building configuration also preserves trees and wetlands.
Materials include masonry bases, steel beams, and extensive glazing. Rather than using any mechanical air conditioning, the design instead relies on operable windows and the shading of the forest canopy. Occupancy sensors and dimmable lights are installed in all classrooms, and a high-efficiency heating system exceeds local energy code requirements by more than 20 percent.
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