CANOPY WEB SCHOOL IN ATLANTA, GA


RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
CITIES STUDIO
PROFESSOR HANSY BETTER-BARRAZA
GROUP PROJECT WITH HUINING (EVE) GUO & NEHA KUMAR
SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2019

In this project, I was tasked with designing a K-12 school that responded to research on systems of exclusion in Atlanta, Georgia.


This project was executed with fellow RISD students Huining (Eve) Guo and Neha Kumar.


I began by identifying a site: the location of the existing Carver High School and TH Slater Elementary School. The goal was to replace these existing buildings with a new campus, and to relocate the Luther J. Price Middle School to the site too.




An aim of this project was to bridge human across the freight train line to the northeast of the site. When the train is stopped at this location (this happens often and for extended periods), access to the other side is entirely restricted. Therefore, the project called for a solution that would allow coexistence between the train and other program.


I settled on a school campus that is built as close to the train line (northeast corner) as possible, with a system of elevated walkways that bridge over the train and into a community center. This enables uninterrupted pedestrian access into the schools from the other side of the tracks. Additionally, the school is significantly closer to the street rather than buried deep in the site.




The diagrammatic program map above translated into a resolved building geometry shown below. The walkways began to form a "canopy web" – a canopy because they varied in altitude, and a web because they formed a connected network.




Axonometric view below shows how the walkways drape over the building. Walkway intersections become "nodes" where people of the school or public can gather. The three schools are connected; however, they each contain a private courtyard that feeds into a larger central one.




A structure model of the community center portion shows how the freight train is allowed to pass through. Walkways drape like a web over the community center to connect its multiple programs.




A section perspective paints a picture of how different programs coexist harmoniously in the system. The shaded walkway, for example, connects the schools on the left side to currently inaccessible territory on the right end. The freight train runs when it pleases without affecting operations above. The train can be viewed and enjoyed by people in the public space next to it. Moreover, the community center provides support to the school's greater community.






Plan, section, and models below show a chunk of the school where middle and high school intersect. The chunk contains a shared library, offices, and a cafeteria with outdoor seating in a private courtyard. Outdoor walkways hover over the area without interrupting the plan of the school.





















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