Located in Friendship, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this project is designed as a middle school for the existing Pittsburgh Environmental Charter School. The school runs under four guiding principles: acting as a catalyst for innovative education, being a positive impact on the character of students, encouraging collaboration between students and communities, and, of course, promoting a commitment to sustainable design. The design is based on these principles and prioritizes the school's users, the environment, and its community connection. Simple circulation spines create a crossroads for collaboration with classrooms to the north and the assembly space open to the south. A water catchment system, green wall, green roof, louvers, natural ventilation and passive solar design all allow the building to be a teaching tool and a visible example of sustainable design. A public courtyard along the busy city street with its own entrance to the assembly space and a separate community room create a strong connection to the surrounding community.
A rendering of the design from the busy street corner. A green wall covers the western facade, while locally sourced masonry and wood adorn the other facades.
Classrooms are located to the north to receive well diffused natural light, circulation hallways encompass the communal assembly space, faculty spaces stack next to the entrance, and special learning spaces are differentiated to the south.
The public courtyard provides space for the community and invites them into the school. It also includes a small pond that signifies the underground water cistern.
The classrooms, hallways, and assembly space are the core of the school, creating a connection that engages students throughout their educational experience.
The hallway space includes lockers, organic benches, and a communal space that becomes more than circulation and encourages collaboration.
The exterior walls utilize maximum insulation in spaigr assemblies for energy efficiency. The facades include masonry, wood, a green wall system, as well as windows and louvers.
The classrooms are equipped for students and all the tools the teachers need, with a teacher office and separate conference room directly off the classroom.
The model explains the massing, topography changes, material selection, elevation design, etc. in the context of the surrounding environment.