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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2009 awards -> Detroit School of Arts


Entry number: B09023
Project Name: Detroit School of Arts
Building Type: Educational
Completion Date: February 2005
Building Location: Detriot, Michigan
Type of Construction: Type 1B per 2000 Michigan Building Code (fireproofed and braced steel frame with composite concrete and metal deck)
Building Area: 286,000 sf

Design Team:
Architecture Firm: Hamilton Anderson Associates
Architect of Record: Hamiliton Anderson Associates
Detroit Public Schools
Interior Designer: Hamilton Anderson Associates
Landscape Architect: Hamilton Anderson Associates
Structural Engineer: L & L, Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Albert Kahn Associates, Inc
Mechanical Engineer: Albert Kahn Associates, Inc
General Contractor: Brinker-Skanska
Photographer: Clayton Studios
Consulting Architects/Acoustics: Kirkegaard & Associates
Theater Consultant: Schuler & Shook
Food Service Consultant: Stephen Bangs Associates, Inc.
Facility Economics Consultant: Kirk Associates Inc.
Technology Consultant: Swiderski Electronics Inc.
Broadcast Telecom. Design: URS
Vertical Transportation Consultant: Technical Inspections Inc.

Statement of Design Approach:
The School of Arts has a nationally significant curriculum, blending fine & performing arts with broadcast and digital media arts. The design team employed strategies of shared spaces and dynamic common areas to create a blended facility that celebrates the rich cross pollination that is unique to an arts education. The form and materials reflect the design team’s exploration into the aesthetic balance between the city’s industrial legacy and the progressive nature of its digital arts and music subculture. The design team approached the concept of sustainability holistically, considering not only green applications for the building and site, but to leverage the investment as a means for deepening relationship that would positively impact the surrounding community. The design team collaborated with the District and its strategic partners to develop the optimal place for learning: a place where business professionals, educators, and students come together to share knowledge and produce high quality work.

The School of Arts is a six-story, 286,000sf specialty public high school in the heart of the city’s Cultural Arts District. The opening of the 1,200-student School in February, 2005 marked the completion of the Orchestra Place Master Plan, which includes mixed use commercial buildings, historic Orchestra Hall and a new Performing Arts Center. The District is also home to a substantial senior citizen community and numerous non-profit agencies committed to youth, family services and public outreach. The School, envisioned as a gathering place celebrates learning and revitalizes an important urban center by bridging education and business, as well as servicing the needs of multiple generations.

The School of Arts was originally founded in 1994 with a fine and performing arts mission. The new School has an expanded curriculum that is nationally unique at the high school level, incorporating media and broadcast arts including TV production studios, an on-air FM Radio station and digital media suites. This dynamic new vision for the school was fueled by the School District’s business partnerships with Public Television and Symphony Orchestra, each of whom engaged the School through curriculum development, formal instruction and mentorship.

Recognizing the value placed on partnerships and curriculum, the design team focused on maximizing the interface between education and business, art and technology, school and community. The 800-seat Theater includes its own public plaza, box office, entry and lobby, and is sited prominently upon a significant, but socioeconomically challenged neighborhood avenue in a deliberate attempt to rejuvenate its identity and it potential to emerge as a vibrant public space.

On the exterior, the School’s lively, contemporary architecture is symbolic of the energy and talent of its students, as well as the optimism of its community. The north façade, inspired by a digital music score, celebrates the importance of major gathering spaces by marking them with oversized transparent openings that showcase student activity to the surrounding neighborhood.

On the interior, the School is a mixed use collection of high-tech multipurpose spaces, all linked by a platform of technology and sustainability. With collaborative exchange and efficiency as a goal, the team prioritized multipurpose design strategies: the lobby for the 200-seat recital hall serves as a gallery for the visual arts program; the multi-purpose gym doubles as a dance studio; the dining hall regularly hosts three lunch periods daily, as well as community events at night. This ‘mixed use’ approach to the building’s interiors and communal resources has made it a microcosm of the dynamic relationships that exist within the surrounding community.

Sustainable Description:
1. Design on a Human Scale
• The Media Center overlooks a green roof which also serves as a teaching tool for the students and an enhanced visual experience.
• Educational outreach via tours and a comprehensive signage program illustrating the project’s green components led to innovative design credit.
2. Provide Choices
• Partnerships with the City’s Symphony Orchestra and Public Television Station gives students direct access to top quality educators and programs, as well as the TV station’s Production Center and the radio station’s on-air/production facilities.
3. Encourage Mixed-Use Development
• The live broadcast radio station and full TV production facility are used by the students, but are also operated by industry professionals. The radio station operates around the clock, and the TV facility operates 16 hours each day.
4. Preserve Urban Centers
• The project site was chosen for its proximity to existing community assets and infrastructure therefore promoting stability for the surrounding community and curbing urban sprawl.
5. Vary Transportation Options
• An estimated 45% of the building occupants use public transportation, carpooling, biking or walking to access the building, facilitated by its urban context.
• Two bus lines are within ¼ mile and 78 bicycle stalls are located within 200 yards of the site.
6. Build Vibrant Public Spaces
• Our client’s vision was to create new facilities and programs that attract students, establishes schools as a resource center within neighborhood communities, and provides a progressive learning environment.
7. Create a Neighborhood Identity
• Connection to physical resources through sensitive open space design, innovative communications technology, and an expressive, contemporary architecture were inspired by Detroit’s legacy of industry.
8. Protect Environmental Resources
• The school scored 29 out of 32 points in USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, a first for a project in this city.
• Up front planning has resulted in a 23% Reduction in energy use compared to conventional building.
• Green roofing and highly reflective roof surfaces reduces the urban heat island and air conditioning load.



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Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos

These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:06 PST