Centering a Town: 15th. Effort/Spiral

Spiral because of the spiral staircase at the corner. This is an improved version of my first two efforts. Program is similar, though it has no black box theater. And it is a reserved yet informal design that fits in with the character of other buildings in downtown St. Johns. It picks up the brick in the courthouse and library, and the green details repeat the color of the St. Johns Bridge as well as suggest its structure of suspension.

As always, some imagination is needed to see my models. Details—refined brickwork, window frames—are everything in a simple building like this, which I can’t reproduce. I’d also like a more involved and delicate grid for the corner windows enclosing the staircase. The stairs themselves, of course, are not the correct scale. Also I cannot do interiors. The white elements inside provide an armature to support the roof.

Rear view. The center stripe did not come out well in the photograph. Inset, it is the same color green. The functions of the building, classrooms—twelve in all—above exhibition and communal space, are articulated by this divide.

Rear corner, a picture of regularity and structure.

Side view. The vertical and horizontal members provide an open, upward lift against the weight of the brick. The central insets suggest the rising bridge towers.

Front corner. The staircase is on the plaza, announcing the activity inside. And since visible, it adds another element of circulation to the area. As I said in my first post, the stairs give drama to the ascent to classes. Students rising are aware of the world outside, as well as are seen by pedestrians outside, who might be tempted to join in. The process is reversed on their return, when classes are over. Education lifts us from the daily world and takes us back to it.

Front view and main entrance, a more varied design, with brick massing for weight and contrast. The corridors from the stairs to the classrooms is behind this expanse of brick.

Note the skylight over the stairs. On a clear day they should get plenty of illumination.

Background and Previous Designs

Other designs for this project, along with background material and more photographs of site, can be found here and at these posts.

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