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Susan Odell Taylor School for Children

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Susan Odell Taylor School for Children

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Susan Odell Taylor School for Children

Troy, NY

2,500 square feet in size and designed to provide two new classrooms, a student reading room and proper lobby space for a growing private elementary school, this expansion had to also be useful as a teaching and enrichment tool for the student-occupants and their teachers. A number of structural systems are expressed and exposed throughout, serving to teach the students some basic principles of structure. A rust orange colonnade carries the low, west roof edge over the glazed lobby wall and is laid out using Fibonacci’s sequence. The column spacing is tight at the existing building and grows proportionally larger as it travels north. The steel beam’s depth is increased as the column spacing grows, illustrating this structural principal. Window patterns are based on the golden rectangle and the cadence of the lobby rafters is interrupted to mark the column locations in the ceiling.

The varied use of clear glass and translucent insulated wall panels admits different amounts and qualities of light throughout the day. The classrooms may be used without artificial light during the early hours of the day. In the evening the building glows, accentuating the sense that it is composed of simple planar surfaces and pockets of enclosed space. Slot windows are strategically placed between the seated and standing eye levels of the average school-aged child allowing for connection to the outdoors without creating distracting views to the adjacent roadway.

Children need space to move around but their minds also need space to be creative. The vaulted, open roof structure in the classrooms provides an expansive volume and expresses the use of bolted connections in wood to create long-spanning trusses. The truss zone is clad with translucent panels, allowing it to glow, dematerializing all but the roof plane. The reading alcoves provide a more intimate space for individual study and small group activity within the larger volume.