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Maclay School Science Center

The program for this small, high school science building consists of 4 demonstration labs, 2 teaching labs, a small greenhouse, miscellaneous support spaces, and a 200 seat multi-purpose auditorium. After a thorough analysis of existing site conditions, it was determined to position the building adjacent to an existing, majestic live oak tree. The building is configured in a manner which creates a “hard edge”, defining the easternmost boundary of what could become a better defined central campus green space. The campus consists, for the most part, of classically composed buildings which have been arranged in a relatively informal manner. The buildings are positioned between and around numerous existing trees which give the campus an overall aura of being “in the woods”.

A covered walkway canopy provides the datum that stitches together the different programmatic components. The science labs are organized in a straightforward and rational manner expressing the tectonic nature of the roof support structure. Clearly visible, fume hood exhaust stacks also reinforce this quality. The covered walkway canopy also functions as the westernmost edge of an entrance courtyard, allowing either direct access into the auditorium for after-hours events or the primary entry of the science building proper.

The client requested a building with a classic, timeless quality and one that encourages a symbiotic relationship with nature.

Ample pre-function space is provided for the auditorium. The northern wall of this space is totally transparent, allowing the oak tree to become the obvious focal point. This curtain wall was conceived as a more organic and faceted element. It compliments the serial nature of the science building while also acknowledging and paying homage to the presence of the oak tree.

Building materials include a standing seam metal roof, ground face concrete block walls, CIP concrete columns and selective use of IPE hardwood.

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