channels for learning

SMArchS student w/ Meejin Yoon, Marilyne Andersen & John Ochsendorf, MIT

This project was awarded an honorable mention at the 2010 Holcim Forum in Mexico City.

‘Channels for Learning’ is a proposal for a new k-12 campus in the context of impoverished rural Siem Reap, Cambodia which aims to manage challenging issues of water resource distribution and harness wind driven ventilation to create a zero energy school.  This project proposes an affordable and sustainable new campus to accommodate the expansion to an existing school by 800 students.  The campus has a distinct junior and senior high school that are connected through shared central programs but distinct in their individual identities.

Located in a region that experiences close to one meter of annual flooding, our design employs a robust strategy for building up the land along an elevated central ridge, dividing the site into two equal halves.  Oriented North-South along this axis, the ridge is terraced in order to take advantage of prevailing winds and to aide in the overall ventilation strategy for each classroom. Each side of the campus is around a shared central street that ramps up from the ground plane to an elevated central hub, along which the students are able to socialize, recreate, and study.  From this open air street, the two schools expand out on opposite sides to reveal unobstructed views over the surrounding landscape and series of waterways.  Each classroom along the ridge is staggered diagonally to provide equal access to daylight and breeze, as well as communal courtyards that adjoin each cluster of learning spaces.  Rainwater is collected off the rooftops of shared central programs into a series of large, covered cisterns located adjacent to the central street.  From there, water is channeled into two systems: 1) through a channel in the link to a central croc-washing station so the students may clean their feet after a muddy commute to school and 2)through a gravity fed channel under each terraced classroom to create a passive cooling feature beneath the vented floor, helping to create buoyancy driven ventilation out under the angled roofs.

design team: Tiffany Chu, Lisa Pauli, Lisa Hedstrom, Joseph Nunoz & Juliana Sassaman

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