Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Ecclesiastical architecture has traditionally contrasted interior and exterior with the intent of differentiating the sacred from the profane. Thus churches tend to be hermetic, since difference is best cultivated behind impermeable and clearly demarcated boundaries. The design of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fort Wayne, Indiana, holds on to the traditional contrast but also aims for openness and continuity with the landscape. The project achieves this double goal by differentiating between phenomena rather than environments. Thus the exterior is visible from the nave but perceived and understood in ways particular to that perspective. Once you step outside, the same features of that environment take on a different character, a new meaning.

The cloister-type plan adopted for the project belongs to a rich history of architectural and monastic traditions that is particularly relevant and readily hospitable to liturgical needs. In a context of minimal building density, the courtyard provides physical enclosure, a sanctuary, and a sense of community. Furthermore, the interconnectedness of facilities (physical and visual) and their disposition around a common space enhances flexibility in accommodating wide ranging eventsand congregations.

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Chabad of South Dade

Chabad of South Dade

The original Bryan Methodist Church in Coconut Grove was designed in 1925 by the renowned architectural firm of Kiehnel and Elliott. The project for the expansion of the original church seeks to recover Kiehnel and Elliot’s original intentions for the site. These early architects envisioned the approach from Main Highway as the formal entrance to the property, from which the most important view of the building could be appreciated. The original plans reveal the design of an outdoor lawn where the congregation would have gathered to hear William Jennings Bryan, a leading member of the community, deliver homilies from the outdoor pulpit attached to the existing building. Today, this important forecourt has been replaced by a utilitarian parking lot, and thus the congregation has lost its most important outdoor gathering space.

The new design is rooted in the long-standing tradition of ecclesiastical, courtyard complexes. The design proposes a paved, stone court along Main Highway, flanked by two, one-storey, arcaded buildings. The north wing contains administrative offices and a large, dining hall; and the south wing provides classrooms for religious teaching. The new court will become the primary public space of the complex- providing an appropriate vantage point from where to view the existing main sanctuary. At the rear of the property, the design incorporates a small Mikvah (a building for ritual bathing), and a new parking grove to replace the displaced parking lot along Main Highway.

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Colegio Interamericano Gymnasium

Colegio Interamericano Gymnasium

The desired program for the school addition includes a variety of public rooms for gathering. The Gymnasium/Recreation building is among the most important gathering spaces in the project. Special attention must be paid to both the location of this space within the proposed plan, as well as the details and proportions of the room. Often important public buildings/spaces are placed on high ground in order to command an important view and are composed with unique characteristics (shape and details) to ensure that the experience is a memorable one.

As such, the gymnasium has been placed along the entrance road to the School to serve as a marker. The building is set on the highest point of the site, from where the main spaces command the most impressive views of the surrounding landscape. The proposal contains two important rooms that could be used for both recreational and ceremonial events (i.e graduation ceremonies etc.). The main rooms are carefully proportioned and are surrounded by a deep colonnade that serves as an outdoor room for circulation and gathering, protecting the building’s inhabitants from sun and rain.

Below the main level are a series of service spaces, inlcuding lockers, bathrooms and secondary room (i.e. exercise rooms etc.) that serve to support the main uses of the building.

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Colegio Interamericano

Colegio Interamericano

What makes a great school?  This question provoked us to think about the history of education in the West, beginning with the development of the Lyceum in Ancient Greece, formally founded by Aristotle in the 4th century B.C.  The Lyceum integrated spaces of learning with spaces of physical exercise, believing that a well-rounded citizen needed to develop both a strong mind and an agile body.  Moreover, Aristotle’s most profound educational lessons took place while walking through the grounds of the School with his students.  This is fundamental, as it indicates that some of the most meaningful learning experiences took place informally within Nature.  

In an ever-increasing digital age that often de-sensitizes us from our surroundings, we believe that it is vital for students to come in direct contact with the physical world.  Nature can serve as both a place of contemplation and a direct source for learning.  Thus the project for the extension to the Colegio Interamericano develops a collection of outdoor rooms and gardens that can serve as a direct extension of the interior classroom experience.  

The design is guided by several factors including the desire to create clearly defined and memorable spaces capable of reinforcing the pedagogical objectives of the School; integrate the natural and manmade structures of the site; and choreograph the utilitarian demands so as to not interfere with the principal academic spaces of the campus.  

The project includes 24 new classrooms, a Media Lab, Science Labs, cafeteria, covered loggias and gardens, and a large central space for track and field and other sports activities.  

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Guatemala

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Completed September 2015

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Escuelita Buganvilia

Escuelita Buganvilia

Situated on the remote and beautiful southwestern coast of Guatemala, the new classroom prototype serves a growing rural community, that up until recently had limited access to formal education. The design is a collaboration between the architects, a local non for profit agency, the community and the School’s director to address increased enrollment and an existing deteriorating physical facility. The project is intended to provide a comfortable and stimulating learning environment for the children, capable of being easily and affordably replicated throughout the site as the school continues to expand. Thus the project was developed with a selective kit of parts, capable of being assembled, edited and expanded as needed.

Built in concrete and steel, contemporary materials used in the vernacular constructions of the region today, the new building houses five classrooms and a set of bathrooms. Its overall form is a direct response to the particulars of the hot and humid tropical environment with a prominent metal roof that overhangs more than two and a half meters beyond the edges of the building. The overhang provides protection from the intense tropical heat and incessant rains and serves as a space of circulation and informal gatherings for the children. Its base is lined with concrete benches that transform this outdoor area into an impromptu classroom as well, nearly doubling the footprint of usable space.

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Escuintla, Guatemala

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Completed September 2015

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3,200 sq. ft.