PBLCS FRIENDSHIP commended with the 2016 GENSERT MEMORIAL SHOLARSHIP
Located in the Friendship area in Pittsburgh PA along the the major arterial street of Baum Boulevard, linking the up and coming East Liberty District with Oakland, the school, as well as a redeveloped parkscape area located to the sites east, serve as the entrance to the Friendship neighborhood. Serving to educate students from 6th to 8th grade, the school is programmed for a project based education, as an alternative to traditional public school in the neighboring areas.The thematic scheme revolves about a desire to preserve the strength of the Baum corridor, and to keep with the booming developments along this major street in the upcoming years.
As such the school is organized into 3 distinct bands of space running parallel to Baum Boulevard, with the main administrative and classroom spaces lining the north for diffuse daylight exposure. The sawtooth geometry allows students a view to the park eastward, provides indirect views into auxiliary classrooms, as well as reinforces a pedestrian movement towards the adjacent parkspace on Baum. The south is zoned for servant spaces to the major programmatic elements of the multipurpose Student Commons, as well as the primary jewel of the school, the Project Resource Center. The central band, consisting of the Commons and Project Resource Center, intends to create a dynamic interior dialogue between the two elements, but also addresses the urban and community condition by forming a projection outward, and engaging an exterior dialogue between the school and the community parkscape. This is accomplished through a series of steps projecting upward over the sidewalk allowing students a flyover view during worksessions. With a suspended circulation network of catwalks that visually interrupt the commons below and unite the steps, students from the ground to third floors can have visual and acoustic presence with each other fostering peer connectivity. As also being the location for the schools entrance, the resource center steps provide a funneling effect from below to draw people inward, and this is reinforced by the parkscape, on which a canopy steps upward to greet the eastern facade and heighten the experience and relationship between the building and new park space.
In order to make the underside more inviting given a drastic shift from human scale, the structuring of the central zone allows for minimal contact with the two adjacent ones, allowing for slots to be cut out of the floor to create light wells through the building, and serves to lighten the projecting steps. In terms of materials, the interiors are clad in metals and warm naturals to evoke a warm learning atmosphere that bounces light. The exterior is clad in vibrant copper and cor-ten steel, providing link to Pittsburgh's industrial roots, but also creating a colorful marker of the schools presence and nature, with the adjacent canopy structure over the park to consist of lightweight translucent panels, that intend to flutter in the breeze, creating a kinetic overhead effect that serves to increase the motion along Baum and into the school building.
PreFinal Model Photos: Cooper Plate, FoamCore, Bass/Birchwoods, Acrylic, Museum Board, Metallic Board, Metal Mesh. 20x16x8" Dimensions
Building Floor Plans
Structural Sequencing: Egress/Column Lines, Primary Girders, Secondary Beams, Trusses and Cantilever Joist Girders, Decking, Concrete Slab Pour, Canopy