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This private school is 90,000 sf of which the upper 4 stories plus penthouse, is 58,865 sf of non-combustible modular design. The Basis Independent Schools progressive K – 12 curriculums specialize in hi-tech physics, maths and sciences. The modular area features stairwells, bathrooms, corridors and 32 spacious classrooms including chemistry & biology labs, all then carefully blended with the theatre and gym as well as the lower floor, built on site. The building uses a unique day-lighting strategy that combines strategically placed windows of varying sizes to allow pockets of light into classrooms as well as a strip of vertical and a two storey undulated glass “waterfall” curtain wall application to flood the common areas, cafeteria and hallways with natural light. The school promotes simplicity in design with open and exposed ceilings, ductwork and even cable trays. The exterior architectural panel system compliments the random sizes and patterns of the unique window application.
NRB’s “build together” process combined with the steel and concrete construction methodology set the modules together at the plant with two floors joined together vertically and horizontally. This allowed for the creation and precision fit of many of the steel framed triangular and “W” shaped module angles needed to suit the site plan and the site built portion of the design. An angled glass rail that followed the angled module design was preinstalled at the plant along the level 2 corridor module to overlook the open expanse of the cafeteria floor below. The random design and locations of the large and small windows to promote changing views to the outside from inside the classrooms, along with the variations in exteriors from solid architectural panels to fully glazed curtain walls both straight and tilted offered some remarkable building elevation changes in this striking school design.
The complicated nature of this urban location included it being declared a ‘Brownfield” site within a flood plain, with poor soils conditions, so the project required meticulous planning from beginning to end. Building just under 70% of the school off site and away from the constricted area was the solution to reduce site disturbance, activity and cost, as there was very limited staging or lay down area from which to work. In this neighborhood without greenspace, the designers applied innovation and an outdoor terrace was created off the first level that the modules surround and partially cantilever over so the students have outdoor spaces without leaving the school footprint. The building design uses an energy efficient gas boiler system that was preinstalled in the modular penthouse and delivered to site. Ductwork, piping, sprinklers, and cabling are neatly installed and exposed in the ceiling cavity to help keep finish costs lower, and provide the simple look the school was after.