Programming and Form

To begin designing a middle school for Chicago, it is necessary to first get an understanding of the programmatic relationships.  There will of course be classrooms, a gym, a cafeteria, offices, and a library, but how these relate to each other says a lot about the learning style of the school.


With the first iterations of program, I experimented with classroom arrangements (represented by blue and purple colors) and how they related to the program beneath them.  I was interested with the different spaces these arrangements could suggest, particularly outdoor courtyard spaces.

With the next iteration, the concept was that two aspects of the school (the art classes and the more traditional classrooms) intersected at the center corner of the site and were then held up by the supporting areas of programs.  With this I felt as if I was getting closer to a useful concept


The next step was to begin formal ideas.  This meant keeping program in mind, but not worry about precise square footages.  The first model was based directly on the first program model, simply so that I could begin to get an idea of what it might actually look like.  The second was based on the last iteration of program models, but instead of the wings intersecting at 90 degrees, they meet at an angle.  At this point, it is not entirely practical since there is not enough space for all of the program.  The last model is a new idea, that focuses on the library as the center of the school and as the main support of the classroom spaces.  As someone who loves books, I am particularly drawn to this concept.


The next models begin to work on the second formal model while trying to incorporate the idea of the library as the center.  In this case, the intersection of the two bars is where the library would be located.  I am not yet satisfied with any of these shapes, but I do believe in the idea behind them.  As I move forward, I hope to come up with a solution that better represents the idea of the library at the center of two wings of program.

As I think about why the library should be such an important part of the school, I realize that it is a place to foster curiosity and self-motivation for learning which relates to ideas from the earlier studies we did, especially #60: Open the Doors and #13: Create Neural Networks.

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