My first interest in this design was to find a way to break up the shoebox such a building inevitably becomes. To do this, I used separate planes and boxes at different heights that remain individual and slightly overlap or extend from the building, that come together in varying compositions. This building challenges the notion of a building and highlights the activity inside. Like the classes, it is a place of analysis, of breaking into parts and assemblage. De Stijl, very loosely, may have been an influence, of which there really aren’t many examples in architecture.
Rietveld’s Schröder House.
Rear, the view from the bridge. The green for the classrooms on the left echoes the bridge and anticipates the horizontal plane at the front.
The compositions and overall aspect change as one moves around the building.
Each side is different, yet the building coheres in the collection of parts and coordination of tensions.
Side view, along Philadelphia, two discrete, solid parts separated by glass, with the main brick plane intersected by the green, featured in isolation. The building has a large open area for community and exhibition two floors high, from which the classrooms can be seen. The open space continues to the ceiling. It is a building with many lines of sight, from within and without. The glass area would exhibit the stairs to the three upper floors, not constructed. Finely done they could become a feature. Structural members would need to be added inside as well, which, visible, could provide further interest.
Third floor plan. The gray area indicates the open space. In addition to stairs, an access would be added to the platform at the second floor, a smaller gathering area. The green rear corner classrooms are about two feet lower than the white, so stairs are added for the descent. Right middle, a landing area before restrooms and utility.
As one approaches the front corner, on the plaza, the focal point,
the building loses substantiality and approaches transparency.
The front, along Lombard, which has the main entrance, presents the contrast between the green and red planes, isolated, free standing, next to the solid white box of classrooms above another brick plane.
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.