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Program Statement Creativity is essential in childhood development. Formal and informal hands on learning will be catered to outside of the lecture classroom, in a space that is light, warm, and playful. The space will be adaptable in size, scope and function and serve as a prototype for different sites. Elements will be designed to be used in a variety of spaces but placed in a sample site. A set of guidelines (the program) will allow solutions to be adapted to the unique needs of any school. Experiments, models, and projects will be multidisciplinary and based on the world we live in, serving as building blocks for later study.

A child learning at the Science Museum of Virginia

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Program Adaptable Prototype Separate

spaces for ten to fifteen students, each having: • Storage • Adaptable furniture • Display areas for student work and class materials • Access to Technology • Access to Water • Child ADA accessibility • Windows • Prefabricated equipment

Each space must: • Be usable by different groups at different times • Have 54 sq. ft. per student1 (540 - 810 sq. ft. total) • Cater to hands-on SOL requirements • Be easily adaptable to a new or existing structure


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Atrium School Watertown, Massachusetts | Maryann Thompson Architects Tremendous quality of natural light streams through large windows and is diffused throughout by the choices of color and finish. The open plan allows for a variety of activities and freedom for the child to roam among wider boundaries. “This project called for the adaptive reuse of a brick warehouse on a limited site in a mixed industrial/residential neighborhood. . .The transformation required rethinking the building’s orientation relative to site and creating a playful interior sequence that breaks down the long and narrow building volume.”1


The schools atrium functions as the gym, auditorium, and music room.

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Mothers’ Club Family Learning Center Pasadena, California | Harley Ellis Devereaux “The mission of the center is to help prepare families living in isolation and poverty to succeed in school and in life through two-generation learning.”1 Clerestory windows above a common area between four classrooms send light streaming through the large sliding glass doors at the corners of the classrooms. When the doors are open the classrooms spill out into the common space. When closed, the glass allows the classrooms less chance of feeling “boxed in” by occupants and maintains a visual connection to the rest of the space.


Four classrooms feature sliding glass at corners which open into a common area in between.

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OpenBare Bibliotheek

Amsterdam | Jo Coenen & Co - Architekten This public library in Amsterdam features playful and engaging lighting and furniture. Connections to the outside are maintained by large windows, bringing in natural light and providing views of the water.

(Some photos courtesy of

View down into the children’s section. Circular bookcases break up the main space. The tallest has a spiral staircase leading up to a platform above.

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Science Museum of Virginia Richmond, Virginia | John Russell Pope

The Science Museum of Virginia’s temporary program Science Unplugged teaches children basic principles of engineering and physics. Participants learn by building bridges, cantilevers, and arches and about the scientific method. The museum has a wide variety of permanent exhibits covering topics such as electricity, crystals, light, and much more.

(Four photos on right-hand side courtesy of

Children learning how the structure of an arch works

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Curriculum Virginia SOLs

The Science Standards of Learning (SOLs) in the state of Virginia list the eight goals below. Each of them would be accomplished with the implementation of this project in close relationship to the standard lecture class.1 1. Develop and use an experimental design in scientific inquiry 2. Use the language of science to communicate understanding 3. Investigate phenomena using technology 4. Apply scientific concepts, skills, and processes to everyday experiences 5. Experience the richness and excitement of scientific discovery of the natural world through the historical and collaborative quest for knowledge and understanding


6. Make informed decisions regarding contemporary issues taking into account the following: * public policy and legislation * economic costs/benefits * validation from scientific data and the use of scientific reasoning and logic * respect for living things * personal responsibility * history of scientific discovery 7. Develop scientific dispositions and habits of mind including: * curiosity * demand for verification * respect for logic and rational thinking * consideration of premises and consequences * respect for historical contributions * attention to accuracy and precision * patience and persistence 8. Explore science-related careers and interests.

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Patrick Henry Elementary School

Charles M. Robinson Architects, 1922 (addition 1928) Patrick Henry Elementary was designed by Charles M. Robinson, known for work such as the Stuart Circle Hospital, The Mosque (now the Landmark Theater) and various buildings for the University of Richmond, William and Mary, JMU, RPI among hundreds of others.1 The school was closed at the end of the 2007 school year after 85 years of operation (1922 - 2007). The Richmond School Board indicated that there were too many school buildings in operation and that they could better use the taxpayers money by consolidating into newer schools.2 The building is not currently in use.

1 2

Patrick Henry Elementary School

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Patrick Henry School Initiative Floor Plan

The building features three floors including the basement. The basement level is half a story below grade. Two exterior doorways on the South at either side the auditorium open to stairways up or down. The basement has three exterior doorways that each have exterior stairs: one each on the North, East and West sides. There are approximately 16,210 sq. ft. per floor with six to ten classrooms each. Classrooms average 25’ x 30’ or 780 sq. ft. each (approx. 78 sq. ft. of that being storage).

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Patrick Henry School Initiative School of Science and Arts

“The Patrick Henry School Initiative (PHSI) is comprised of Richmond citizens who are committed to reopening the Patrick Henry Elementary School building as an innovative charter school -- the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts (PHSSA) -- that offers high-quality elementary education in a nurturing environment to any Richmond City child. The proposed opening date for the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts is July, 2009.�1 Having similar goals as the Initiative, this serves as the perfect local site for this project.


Patrick Henry Elementary School

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Patrick Henry Elementary School Surroundings

The area surroundings include mainly homes with some small businesses strung along Forest Hill and Semmes Avenues. The quality of the surroundings varies from structure to structure, though 90% seem in good condition or in the progress of being renovated. The adjacent Forest Hill Park is an abundant natural resource which has been utilized by science teachers and should continue to be used in the future.

Google Maps satellite view

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Census Data City of Richmond, VA: Total population: 192,913 Children ages 5-12: 9,986 Tracts 604 and 605: Two census tracts surround Patrick Henry, their combined total population is 11,519 1,2

1 name=DEC_2000_SF4_U_DP1&-ds_name=D&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false 2 name=DEC_2000_SF4_U_DP1&-ds_name=D&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false

City of Richmond, VA and detail of tracts 604 & 605

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Demographics Tracts 604 and 605, Richmond City

Combined total number of children ages 5-12 who live about a mile or less from the school: 1,287 1,2 (654 girls)

(633 boys)

= 10 girls

1 name=DEC_2000_SF4_U_DP1&-ds_name=D&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false 2 name=DEC_2000_SF4_U_DP1&-ds_name=D&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false

= 10 boys

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Patrick Henry Elementary School Building Code Analysis Single use, Classification Group E Type I Construction - Noncombustible materials. Allowable Height and Building Areas: Unlimited square footage with a maximum of 5 floors. Occupant Load - Educational floor area in sq. ft. per occupant: Classroom area: 20 sq. ft. per occupant Minimum number of exits: 1-500 occupants - 2 The existing conditions of the building are in compliance with the requirements of my program.

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Senior Seminar Thesis Proposal  

My proposal describes a project catering to hands-on, multidisciplinary learning environement based on earth science.