School of Arts and Sciences
A 12 classroom building was added to an existing K-8 charter school campus in Tallahassee FL. With the campus consisting of a former church and a variety of nondescript classroom buildings, it was in need of a building that could visually stitch the campus together, while providing an emblematic face for the school, all on a very tight budget. It was important to us that the new building somehow distill the architectural language of the existing, disparate, campus buildings and combine those unique characteristics: color scale, large and small detail, materials, etc. into a new and memorable architectural product. An extensive drop-off loop was a program requirement which aided in allowing automobiles to queue on campus, rather than in the heavy morning traffic. The building was organized along this loop, which led to the linear nature of the plan. Two classroom wings share a metal roof, spanning a contemporary interpretation of a traditional “dog-trot” style breezeway, which connects the two wings. The use of the “dog trot” typology allowed the building to avoid the perception that it was an impermeable “wall” in front of the existing campus and, instead, announce itself as the new campus “gateway”. Cast aluminum letters attached to the covered walk way identify the school. The school’s initials, which are a large vinyl watermark applied to the corrugated metal siding beyond, act as a component to the layered graphic and do so at a scale appropriate to the fast moving automobile traffic utilizing the adjacent roadway. Building representation occurs at a variety of scales.
Great care went into the metal panel color and profile selections, as well as the pattern design created for the "skin" of the building. The use of common PEMB colors and panel profiles added a level of creative detailing and complexity to the facade. It also contributed to a construction cost of only $160 SF. Custom corner brake metal profiles allowed the metal skin to wrap the corners in a more sophisticated manner than what would generally be installed on a PEMB. Corner treatments either emphasize the volumetric or planar qualities of the architecture, depending on the location. Clerestory windows, set within exposed steel outriggers and extensive glazing, provide natural lighting throughout the building. The buildings structural logic was expressed both explicitly with the direct interior and exterior expression of the primary structural support frame and symbolically thru representative treatment as part of the buildings weather enclosure. Overall, common PEMB components, along with the exposed steel structure and glass, were carefully arranged to transform what would historically be viewed as warehouse construction into a building recognizable as a piece of architecture.