INTRODUCING THE B1, designed by Peter Brown for VS. Simple idea really. Shift Forward. Lean Back. Open Up. The double cantilever design enables the B1 to flex with the rhythm of the body. And what's good for the body is good for the mind. Designed in America and engineered in Germany for higher learning, smarter working and more satisfying sitting. The B1 - a new shift in thinking.
Peter Brown Architects has joined with BCworkshop to help DISD and Get Healthy Dallas envision the new Entrepreneurial Culinary Arts Program at Lincoln High School in Dallas. During a recent brainstorming session, we were wildly impressed with students at Lincoln and Pearl C Anderson Middle School. The two schools linked into one workshop via DISD's new Skype connection (perhaps the first cross-school collaborative e-meeting in the school district).
After hearing a brief description of program concepts, the group went on a virtual tour of other schools around the country that are innovating with culinary and nutrition programs -- including learning about Sarah Elizabeth Ippel and the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago and Blythewood High School in South Carolina.
During the workshop, students described a dynamic program that builds on health and nutrition, fosters teamwork, invites neighbors into the school, takes meals to home-bound and homeless, and works hand-in-hand with other strengths within the school -- featuring dining with live music, preparing game-day meals for athletes, and working with the print, radio, TV, and social media programs at the school to spread the excitement.
The school is a strategic component of the Grow South plan recently announced by Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings. With the mayor’s vision of strengthening schools and strengthening communities, and filled with students like those who wowed the Entrepreneurial Culinary Arts workshop, Lincoln High School will be one to watch.
Peter Brown speaking at TEDxSMU in the Wyly Theater in Dallas, joining a fantastic group of speakers around the theme of DISRUPTION: a discussion of events, discoveries and how they impact us personally and as a community.
BrainSpaces, our collaborative partner and national thought leader in developing innovative educational spaces, was in the spotlight during the CEFPI 2011 Annual World Conference held in Nashville, honoring both Amy Yurko with the Planner of the Year Award and Marysville Getchell High School with the MacConnell Award.
Amy Yurko, AIA, is the recipient of the 2011 Planner of the Year award, the highest and most distinguished individual honor conferred by the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI). The Planner of the Year award is presented annually to the individual whose professional facility planning activities have produced a positive and significant impact on educational facility planning, adding to the body of knowledge of best practices in the field.
Marysville Getchell High School, Marysville, Washington, captured the coveted 2011 James D. MacConnell Award. The James D. MacConnell Award recognizes the importance of a comprehensive planning process resulting in educational facilities that meet multiple goals, while serving the needs of the community. The project was a collaboration with the Marysville School District, BrainSpaces, Architects of Acheivement, and DLR Group Architects.
SuValley Jr/Sr High School, Talkeetna, Alaska, was one of 4 finalists in the 2011 MacConnell Awards program. Following the destruction of the old school by fire in June 2007, the Mat Su Borough acted decisively to meet community needs. With less than 2 months to explore new directions, create an educational specification and develop a concept design, the project team adopted an integrated approach combining concept design activities with visioning exercises in a series of interactive user driven workshops. More than 200 participants shared in creating a vision for the new school, included a broad range of school and community partners and every student in the school. The school is a part of the Matanuska Susitna Borough School District and was planned and designed in collaboration with BrainSpaces and McCool Carlson and Green.
THE CLASSROOM, published in 2010 features an essay "Connecting Learning and Learning Environments". Through the article, Peter Brown establishes a precedent for intertwining education and design, then illustrates ideas shaping the next generations of school design based on shifts that are occurring within the current educational landscape. The book is available from WASMUTH. This post is number seven in a series of seven.
The culture of a school both reflects and shapes the culture of the local community. In addition, school facilities are a significant capital investment, most often funded over many years by the school community. The ongoing stewardship of nurturing a school campus and sustaining a school culture is an important element of the ongoing and generational success of the school.
While the primary purposes of school facilities are educating students, a school facility has many constituents. Understanding the value systems of the constituents plays an important role in creating a school culture that is supported and nurtured by the community. The school then becomes a network of interested groups that support the learning and developmental goals of students.
At the center of the network are learning goals for individual students. These goals are facilitated by anticipating the tools, spaces, and organizational structures of teaching and learning. Local schools and school district have administrative responsibilities related to operating schools, ranging from financial and educational accountability to maintaining a secure learning environment. Parents are key stakeholders in student success and the transfer of school culture from generation to generation. And the community is a significant stakeholder–strategically organized, schools play an important role in cultural, workforce, economic, and community development. Developing layered strategies to address opportunities for a school’s constituents enhances the ongoing sustainability of a school and community culture.
Riverview High School (originally established in the 1950s) in Sarasota, Florida, envisioned a replacement high school designed to prepare students for success in the coming workforce – organizing 3,000 students by learning communities of 300, focusing curricular content on student interests, and supporting one-to-one student computers. Having outgrown the enrollment capacity of the original campus, and at the same time implementing a significant departure in curriculum, instruction, and physical organization of students, the school board elected to demolish the existing structure and rebuild on the same site.
The existing structure was a significant modern building by Paul Rudolph and widely recognized nationally and internationally as a seminal representation of the Sarasota School of Architecture. Expressive of a flexible steel frame and glass in-fill, the building was a demonstration of sustainable design for schools and for buildings in subtropical climates. Shading devices deflected the sun away from the building skin and reflected softer natural light into the building. With one full wall of windows in classrooms and three walls of clerestories, natural daylight filled the learning environments and natural ventilation flowed through the campus.
In 2008, an international design competition was held to explore alternate possibilities for Rudolph’s historic modern structure. The winning entry, submitted by Diane Lewis Architects, RMJM Hiller, and Beckelman+Capilino, proposed The Riverview Music Quadrangle. This music conservatory would consolidate and provide a permanent home for national and international programs already in operation in the Sarasota area. Classrooms converted to rehearsal studios, the courtyard converted to a large performance venue, and the dining facilities converted to galleries for music performances, banquets, and social events. The program was designed to support the new Riverview High School campus as well as the regional community in attracting world-class musicians to teach, research, and perform for the community.
The Riverview Music Quadrangle would therefore exist as an independent organization colocated on the school site. As a site strategy, a campus green bordered by a landscaped hedge was slipped under the existing Rudolph building, creating a lawn, or garden, to organize the campus and reestablish a historic campus green that was traditionally used by the school’s marching band for rehearsals and impromptu community performances. The hedge organized the site into clear functional zones for both the Quadrangle and the school and, in doing so, created a pedestrian-oriented campus instead of an auto-oriented campus.
In terms of stewardship, the Riverview Music Quadrangle proposal, preserved a significant financial asset for the community, restored a national cultural asset, developed programmatic synergy for the education community, and consolidated community arts and educational resources.
In Dallas, Texas, as a part of a $1.4 billion bond program, a new middle school was established in a socially and economically depressed area of the city. The project connected four city blocks to create Hector Garcia Middle School, a 13-acre campus for 1,200 students aged 11 to 14.
As an organizing strategy, the building is situated toward the north end of the site, creating an urban plaza at the street edge and allowing sports fields in the south. Classrooms placed along the north side of the building collect the north light and offer sweeping views of the city. Program areas that require less daylight are placed on the south side of the building, creating a natural buffer for the south light and heat gain. Areas that can be used by the public – gym, library, auditorium, and dining hall – are located at the edges of the building to invite and encourage the community to use the facility. Classrooms overlook the city, and the windows become teaching aids for teachers, describing activities at the fairgrounds, commerce centers, the city’s airports, and healthcare centers.
The school offers a bold strategy for addressing education in depressed areas. An inventory of nearby community assets placed the new school within four blocks of the city zoo, within two blocks of two elementary schools, eight blocks from a neighborhood high school, and six blocks from a nationally recognized magnet high school. The site for the middle school became a connecting point and resource for neighboring community assets. Instead of a site strategy that responded only to existing conditions, the building looks forward, anticipates, and encourages the neighborhood and the school community to think differently about itself, to leverage educational development as a vehicle for community, economic, and workforce development.
The conversations that shape ideas about learning and learning environments are critical as designers and educators work together to envision and create places for learning. The continual push for performance by schools and communities provides a rich terrain for innovative ideas for educational challenges. While new technologies and legislative and funding pressures for performance invite new ideas, conversations between educators and designers are critical in creating fundamentally human places: spaces that inspire the wonder of learning, celebrate the acquisition of knowledge, and bring understanding of context for an individual to their peers, community, and world. The School Museum at VS reflects on these innovations in the past century and through demonstration encourages this generation of educators and designers to continue the conversations.
PETER BROWN was the liasion for the Sarasota Architecture Foundation in communications with the school board during the Riverview competition process and the Principal Architect for Hector Garcia Middle School.