Multicultural High School / Classroom of the Future

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Multicultural High School / Classroom of the Future
The classroom of the future is a competition entry working with students from all over the world in one classroom in Brooklyn, New York. Together we developed a media belt that other desks plug into. This belt is built off of a module that provides electricity, storage, and a common area for discussion as students research on provided lab tops and future technologies using electricity in the classroom. Our School – Background Our school site is a multicultural high school that is dedicated to helping English Language Learners and students with special needs develop their English proficiency. The teachers work with students to develop their academic skills, and understand the importance of working in an environment conducive to learning. The school’s decision to participate in Architecture Challenge rests with a specific teacher who has long desired to implement positive changes at her school. In our design’s platform, an art classroom, we address how its environment can impact learning, and in order not to impose our own opinions or ideas we went directly to teachers and students to ascertain their needs. We collaborated with them to put together an innovative, yet realistic plan. Our suggestions are based on the understanding that the design must work within the available space, that it not be static, and that it be easily manipulated by the teacher and students to create a variety of configurations. Because the school is new and growing, next year it will add 100 new students, it was important that the design be flexible. Our School – Current Conditions and Constraints The campus is located at the bottom of a steep hill, two separate county lines divide the site in half and there is a cemetery behind it. At the time the campus was built, it was one of the largest high school buildings in the world. Each of the four floors is one-quarter mile; walking four times around one floor equals one mile. The school building was a project of the WPA during the Roosevelt Administration and the cornerstone was set in 1936. In the 1970’s and again in 2007 education at the school was deemed inferior and the school was redesigned. The expansion and addition of a classroom at the school is challenging. At 73 the school is aging but serviceable, with many of the original fixtures still in place. The main school corridor runs along the east-west axis so half of the classrooms have a southern orientation while the others have a northern exposure. Inside the school, the thermal conditions of the classrooms are inconsistent, and because only one wall has windows there is little or no natural ventilation. In addition, when the windows are open in the south-facing classrooms, the noise from the subway and nearby airport is a distraction. The classroom furniture consists of the traditional table and chair arrangement which students find uncomfortable. Materials/Applications Provisions · Lighting o Solatube skylights will increase natural lighting in the classroom o High efficiency and circuited with both dimmer and manual switches o Motion detectors and light sensors o Light tubes will incorporate acoustical absorption, passive and active cooling air system · Windows o Low-E glazing"15% recycled content. o Dual-paned glass and will include glare control strategies (i.e. blinds, window-films, etc.) · Plumbing o On-site water management of rainwater collective system, to be discussed · Finishes o Materials will be either recycled or part recyclable as much as possible. o All wood used is to be FSC certified. o Cabinetry is to be solid FSC Plywood cores also sourced within 500-mile radius. No formaldehyde or toxic substances should be used. o Adhesives and caulking are to be Low or no VOC content for interior environments (Green Seal approved) o Paint colors should be low VOC to no VOC to increase indoor air quality. Sustainability Measures o Wall, floor and ceilings components assembled off-site to reduce construction waste o Lessen energy load with passive solar design, positive air flow, and lighting w/sensors o Materials are to be recycled or part recyclable whenever possible. o Will provide recycling stations o All wood used is to be FSC certified. o Adhesives, paints etc. - Low- or no- VOC content for healthy air quality. o Solatube skylights - To increase natural lighting in the classroom The Space o Space is to flexible and may serve many purposes, sometimes even simultaneously. o Provide library areas for individual learning and research. o Provide wall space for displaying work and other learning information. o Provide a clean-up area to include a sink and storage that is foot-pedal operating option to prevent materials from collecting on knobs/surface. o Recycle water from sinks and use rainwater for additional uses o Lightweight, compact desk design moves and folds making it easy for rearrangement. Each structure plugs into a media belt that provides electricity, laptops, storage and leaves room for the update of computer technology. A cable locks the computers down for security reasons.


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