SCHOOL DESIGN: STAIRS

Students spend a lot of time moving between classes. The stairs and hallways they move through are important spaces. At the Griffin School there are two stairs connecting floors, one interior and the other exterior, placed at opposite ends of the building.

Central Exterior Stair photo: Leonid Furmansky

Central Exterior Stair photo: Leonid Furmansky

007_GR_website_plans_Plan L2 - 1.jpg

The exterior stair ascends between the new building and the central courtyard space. From this conspicuous location the stair connects the central courtyard with the second-floor lounge. Students moving up and down the stair can interact with the people in the courtyard.

photo: Leonid Furmansky

photo: Leonid Furmansky

Stair Landing as meeting space photo: Leonid Furmansky

Stair Landing as meeting space photo: Leonid Furmansky

The stair becomes a platform and extension of the outdoor space and a part of the courtyard experience. As you pass next to an old Mesquite tree from the landing you can also catch a glimpse of birds nesting in the tree branches.

Dove nesting in the Mesquite tree visible from the exterior stair landing

Dove nesting in the Mesquite tree visible from the exterior stair landing

The stair is carefully detailed so that it is elegant and transparent in appearance while being very durable

The concrete and steel stair is infilled with a durable stainless steel mesh photo: Leonid Furmansky

The concrete and steel stair is infilled with a durable stainless steel mesh photo: Leonid Furmansky

Stair landing photo: Leonid Furmansky

Stair landing photo: Leonid Furmansky

The interior stair, located at the opposite corner of the building, takes its shape from the steeply pitched school building roof. This dramatic roof shape is revealed above you when you walk up the stair from the first floor.

Cross section through interior stair

Cross section through interior stair

photo: Leonid Furmansky

photo: Leonid Furmansky

The second-floor ceiling follows the roof slope creating, momentarily, a theatrical experience for students and staff moving between floors. A small west facing window allows for a punch of western sun light to illuminate the space.  

West facing window photo: Leonid Furmansky

West facing window photo: Leonid Furmansky

SCHOOL DESIGN: Site design and outdoor rooms

There are many considerations when site planning for schools. Forming useful outdoor spaces, especially in a southern climate when the outdoors can be used most of the year, is important.

The Griffin School 2nd floor lounge over looks the central courtyard. Photo: Leonid Furmansky

The Griffin School 2nd floor lounge over looks the central courtyard. Photo: Leonid Furmansky

Students spend much of their time moving between classes. The spaces they move through are important for social interaction and can be developed as lounges, spaces for events and informal educational spaces.

Students moving between classes. Photo: Leonid Furmansky

Students moving between classes. Photo: Leonid Furmansky

With our Griffin School project, a high school in central Austin, we added a new building to the existing campus. In designing the space we work closely with our consultants landscape architects Studio Balcones and our civil engineers Civilitude.

Site Plan 1. New Building 2 ,3 Existing Buildings 4. Courtyard 5. Street 6. Alley

Site Plan 1. New Building 2 ,3 Existing Buildings 4. Courtyard 5. Street 6. Alley

The new south facing building frames a central courtyard space. This courtyard is a vibrant common space that the students move through between classes. The space also functions for recreation, informal classes and school events. We placed the central stair to the 2nd floor classrooms on the exterior next to the courtyard space so that it would interact with the space. It’s also used as an informal podium onto the courtyard.

From the central stair Adam Wilson, the school director, addresses people gather for an event in the courtyard. Photo: Leonid Furmansky

From the central stair Adam Wilson, the school director, addresses people gather for an event in the courtyard. Photo: Leonid Furmansky

Barkitecture 2018

Leonid_Furmansky_5127791695 4.jpg

BARKITECTURE 2018

We’d like to extend a big thanks to the volunteer organizers of Barkitecture as well as this year’s sponsor Austin Craft Realty for putting on a great event.

On Sunday, twenty-six doghouses designed by different Austin firms were sold to raise money for Bastrop Animal Rescue, Emancipet, and PALS Meals on Wheels Central Texas. If you missed the event and would still like to support these fantastic organizations, no worries! Donations can be made at any time.

IMG_4586.JPG

Our Soft Dog Den was auctioned by Brendan Ross of Austin Craft Realty, who did a fantastic job of keeping bidders motivated and excited. Thanks to everyone involved for all the hard work and dedication it takes to pull this off year after year!

PEED award.jpg

The jury gave Soft Dog Den the “Pets in Energy & Environmental Design” award for its use of sustainable materials and efficient assembly. Soft Dog Den is constructed from a layer of 3/4” industrial felt, a natural, renewable material folded and fastened to itself with a single stainless steel thumb screw. The inner liner, made from thinner felt, can be removed for cleaning or swapped out for different colors.

44830451_10215750072319951_7682426900211302400_n.jpg

CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE PROGRAMING

053_AIA_PROGRAMMING FOR WEB31.png

Over the last year we have been working closely with the Austin Foundation for Architecture (AFA), and AIA Austin’s Executive Committee and membership to craft a program for a new Center for Architecture.

The new Austin Center for Architecture will be a cultural landmark—operating as a community-oriented information center for the public, a resource for AIA Austin members and the design community, and a destination to host the combined philanthropic efforts of AIA Austin and its nonprofit partner, the Austin Foundation for Architecture.

The new facility will expand AIA Austin and AFA's presence in the region, increasing public engagement and providing a community resource, as well as better serving the growing AIA Austin professional membership.

This programming guide sets the square footage, space, and operational requirements for the Austin Center for Architecture, which will include offices for the Austin Foundation for Architecture and AIA Austin Chapter within the context of needs for the next 10-15 years. The guide separates the program into five elements—each a different aspect of the Center's mission and needs. Diagrams of each element show the program areas, configurations, and adjacencies. Each diagram is followed by precedents for each space within the future Center. The document also outlines the general vision for The Center and addresses practical concerns such as technology needs and sustainability goals.

More diagrams and information are on our website.

AIA SUMMER SCHOOL

Join us this Thursday at the AIA Austin Summer School. We will have a draft of our Center for Architecture Program on display. You will have an opportunity to look at the program draft and comment.

053_AIA_Gallery Page.jpg

We are also hosting a session on Scale and the City, looking at three projects (The Corten House and Garden, Griffin School, and Lamar Union). All received AIA Awards this year. You'll hear from our esteemed colleagues addressing approaches to urban scale (Charles di Piazza, Chris Cobb, and Michael Hsu). Travis, Lincoln and Murray from our office will also present.

The conference will be held at the AT&T Conference Center.

Go to https://www.aiaaustin.org/content/summer-conference for details.

GRIFFIN SCHOOL WINS FIRST-EVER AIA AUSTIN PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD

We are honored to announce that The Griffin School is the recipient of the first-ever Design Awards People's Choice Award! In an online poll that was open to the public, this project received the most votes over the course of the six-week campaign.

Deep Curiosity by Derrington Building Studio, Wilson Hack, and Drophouse Design was a close second, followed by Hill Country House by Miro Rivera Architects. Click here to learn more about the Griffin School project and other 2018 Design Award winners. Congratulations to our friends and colleagues!