retrospective: an online portfolio

Satellite School

Steve Martens assigned the Satellite School as the first project of third-year studio. The site was in the small Inuit village of Pangnirtung in far-northern Canada. The challenge was to design a K-12 school uniquely adapted to that challenging part of the world.

The design consists of a central common space and two wings for classrooms and administration. Since class sizes are small and qualified teachers are scarce, there are only a few classrooms which accommodate multiple grade levels at once. The walls and windows are part of a panelized system which can be easily shipped to the site after manufacture. The pattern of scissor trusses above the common space allows light to enter when the sun shines and glow outwardly when it does not.

This project shows a much better understanding of construction techniques and structural hierarchy (not surprising since Steve Martens taught Materials/Construction). There was no need for an elaborate model since Steve was more interested in how understanding of structure informed the spaces. The varying structural arrangements (especially of the classroom wings) were an attempt to create interest and differentiation within a given structural system.

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  • For ARCH 371

  • Date Fall 2009

  • Type school, Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Inuit, scissor truss, Arctic

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