Second Place - Hamza Qureshi - Redesign Your School Athletic Pavilion | 2014 National High School Architecture Competition #200

What's the problem here? Getting started on your athletic pavilion design.

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Gerald Ratner Athletics Center at the University of Chicago

This is the design challenge for the DiscoverDesign.org National High School Architecture Competition. Be sure to view the rules and entry guidelines before registering!

Design Challenge Background

The challenge is to redesign your high school’s athletic facilities into an athletic pavillion. With national organizations emphasizing the importance of regular phyical activity to combat obesity, these spaces are more important (and used!) than ever. They are becoming communty spaces and spaces for connecting, cheering, and improving lifestyles.

Design Challenge Brief

You may redesign the interior of the existing athletic facilities, expand on the existing spaces, or design a completely new addition on to your school building. Your design should contain all the spaces and functions required for typical school athletic facilities – locker rooms, athletic equipment storage rooms, concession stands, trophy cases, water fountains, offices for athletics staff, bathrooms, exercise and weight rooms, and, of course, gym spaces. The redesigned pavillion should include ideas for both old and new ideas for athletic facilities. You should also consider sustainability issues and the environmental impact of your design.

For your Overview, it is important to post a short, but clear, ‘success statement’ that communicates the goals you hope to solve and achieve through your design solutions. When you’re nearly finished with your design project, you can go back to this success statement to see if your design has met the criteria you first proposed.

When one sets foot into High Tech High School, they often find themselves taking in the airy common area colloquially known as “The Mall Area”. With direct access to the school library, cafeteria, and general offices, the Mall Area serves as the main hub of High Tech. Furthermore, the main school building holds dozens of classrooms and common spaces, as well as computer labs, a media center, and even a performance stage. However, one quintessential aspect of high school life remains distant: the athletic facilities.

As they stand now, the current athletic facilities sit on the opposite side of the overall lot. In order to get to their gym classes, students must walk through an expanse of over 150 meters. The route, which includes crossing a public street used by trucks and automobiles, has no outlined path – the entire lot (approximately 4,000 m2) serves as the walkway to the athletic “pavilion”. Taking into account New Jersey’s largely unpredictable weather and the school’s location on the side of a hill, getting to class can become a struggle. I seek to exterminate this excessive and often dangerous commute by creating a space more unified with the main school building. The design will feature the addition of a new pavilion connected to the existing facilities, which my plan dictates to receive an overall reconfiguration. The design will hone fluidity while promoting health and wellness in a space where students feel welcome.

High Tech's location in the post-industrial town of North Bergen, NJ provides a unique architectural challenge. Juxtaposed against the mid-century industrial structures are lines of trees and shrubbery. Within this, I find my inspiration. Trees represent fortitude and health, and I want my structure to emulate this. I will use the materials found in the local architecture and blend it with my tree concept to create both a striking and purposeful pavilion.

With a design that blends modernism with the area’s industrial architectural style, the space will serve as a sophisticated oasis for students to escape from the hubbub of classes and schoolwork. By architecturally connecting High Tech High School to its athletic facilities with safer walkways, students will be able to go to and from classes more fluidly and safely. I want to create a space that brings the openness of the Mall Area throughout the rest of the school and to the athletic facilities. Ultimately, my goal is to not only bridge the gap between the two facilities, but to bridge the gap between students and wellness.

Comments

I really like the idea of "bridging the gap" between the main school building and APA (Gym) building. It truly is a hassle to go to and from the gym, especially on days when it is raining or snowing. It will be awesome to see your idea come through. By the way, thanks for the follow!

Thanks for the comment! The walk between the current facilities is most definitely an inconvenience to all students. The construction of a walkway between High Tech and the new athletic pavilion will ease the commute for all students.

I agree with that idea. Keep it up!

I agree with the idea as well. I look forward to seeing more as the project progresses.

Thank you both! I appreciate the support.

Don't forget, to register for the National Competition! You can do that here: http://discoverdesign.org/registration2014

Outstanding overview - this makes the challenge and your aspirations very clear.
I can't wait to see where you go with it.

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In the Collect Info step of the design process, gather as much information as possible about your school's existing athletic facilities, both indoor and outdoor. You also want to learn as much as you can about the students and staff who will use it. You can't propose new solutions until you figure out and document what the existing problems are. 

Try This

  • Take note of unsafe conditions or conditions that do not make sense (For example, not enough storage for soccer equipment; no place for fans to buy popcorn at events; no place for athletes to change clothes or store belongings).
  • Interview your school's athletic director, student athletes from various sports, and other staff and ask them what they like and dislike about the current facilities. What changes would they make to spaces if they had a choice?
  • Make a list of the features that you really like about how your athletic facilities look and function.
  • Make a separate list of all the ways your current athletic facilities are not so well designed.
  • Calculate the number of sports played at your school and the number of student athletes who play those sports. Consider how this information will affect your new athletic pavilion. How many teams will need to practice at the same time?
    • Do an analysis at different times of the day, week, or school year and create a chart or diagram with average usage and high / low points.
    • Do an analysis of the different types of equipment used by each sport. How much storage space is there currently? Is it enough? Too much?
  • Visit Flickr or another photo sharing site and search for other types of athletic facilities or gymnasioums to determine good and bad examples of how these can accommodate user’s needs.
  • Post images of buildings, colors, designs, textures, or other things that inspire you in this step. Make sure you give credit to your source!
  • Research other schools, universities, or public centers to determine good / bad examples of how athletic equipment and gear is stored and if anything is done to accommodate student athletes and the fans who use these outdoor facilities. What inspires you?

hqureshi11's work for the Collect Information step:

Summary
Click READ MORE for more info! HISTORY:
This aerial image, captured on June 7, 2001 by Google, shows High Tech High School (highlighted in...
A local structure that provides inspiration. The Yanitelli Center is a recreational facility that...
I created this map on Adobe Illustrator to demonstrate the property lines that the Hudson County...
These pictures provide a visual analysis of the site on which High Tech High School is situated....
This diagram, created by a fellow entrant/classmate and used with his permission, outlines the sun...
This is an aerial view of the site area via Google Earth.
This is an aerial view of the current athletic facilities. I believe that the adjacent lot would be...

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Columbia University Campbell Sports Center © Iwan Baan

In the Brainstorm Ideas step of the design process, you start to be inspired by new places and you put some early ideas down on paper that show what you've found in the Collect Info step. You also might take more photos to show specific new ideas you have. 

The simple diagrams you make here will help you understand how the existing library location and design compare with your new ideas.

Try This

  • Draw a floorplan of your existing facilities. How are all of the different athletic spaces connected? What are the different pathways you can take through all of these spaces? Map all of these rooms and spaces.
  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photo of your school. Take measurements of the overall dimensions of your existing athletic facilities, both indoor and outdoor and use the aerial to map out the measurements.
  • Post this aerial map and sketch here so everyone can understand the relationship between your school building, the athletic fields, and the proposed site of your new pavilion. Describe the surrounding area and note existing structures such as the field, track, seating, storage, locker rooms, concession stands, and any fences. 
  • On a piece of tracing paper placed over the aerial photo of your school, sketch a diagram showing a large arc around the building to show the path of the sun throughout the day.  This drawing is called a site analysis diagram.  (Remember, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.)

Think About

  • Will your new athletic pavillion replace your school's existing athletic facilities or become an addition to a different part of the building? Will it be built in an empty lot or space?  Will it be underground or built on the roof?  You decide.
  • Spend some time looking at the aerial photo of your school.  What types of other buildings surround your school?  Homes, businesses, parks, parking lots, or an empty field?  How will these other buildings impact the design of your new athletic pavillion?
  • What types of streets surround your school? Are they busy or quiet?   
  • Based on the site analysis diagram you've sketched, where is the sun located throughout the school day?
  • How can the indoor and outdoor areas of your new athletic pavillion be positioned to take advantage of the sunlight for good lighting?

hqureshi11's work for the Brainstorm Ideas step:

Summary
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR STRUCTURE TO "SAY"?
A copy of the architectural brief I drafted for the pavilion.
This is a scan of my initial bubble diagram. It contains all of the spaces necessary. However, the...
I used the property lines map to determine which building sites would be the most beneficial. The...
This is an updated bubble diagram for my space. Unlike my initial bubble diagram, this one has a...
This is a simple idea board derived from aspects of my concept. I noticed that the leaves as an...
These are some preliminary sketches inspired by my idea board. I noted the texture of a bark and...

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WMS Boat House at Clark Park © Steve Hall Hedrich Blessing

In the Develop Solutions step, your rough ideas come together with drawings and models that can show others your solutions for a new library.

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teacher, and the mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time. This means that while you're working on your digital model, you’ll want to be sure to keep re-saving it with a new file name every few days as you work through the steps.

Try This

  • Draw a sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to illustrate your ideas.  You can upload photos (JPG files) from your SketchUp model, video fly throughs (FLV files) of your SketchUp model, or drawings (DWF files) from AutoCAD.
  • Determine the best location for your new structure. Make side notes of where new elements may go or how you would change what is currently in place.
  • Make a list of all the unique spaces and features you plan to have in your athletic pavilion. 
  • Your athletic pavilion can include any types of spaces and features you feel are most important for your particular school, but here are a few suggestions:
    • Locker or changing rooms for home and visiting teams
    • Athletic equipment storage rooms
    • Concession stand
    • Trophy cases
    • Water fountains
    • Offices for athletic director or staff
    • Bathrooms for fans
    • Exercise or weight rooms
  • Use cardboard to create a 3D study model of early ideas. Or, create a rough digital study model of your ideas. These models don't need to show detail, just the overall size and massing for your athletic pavilion.
  • Show your ideas to your teacher and peers for some feedback. You can also review your progress with the test group you may have interviewed and test whether your design would meet their needs or address their concerns. Learn from the feedback you receive and incorporate into your final design solution.
  • Be sure to check out and make comments on other student design projects.
  • Do not leave work for the last minute! Going through a detailed design process requires time to gather information, develop ideas, and make improvements. This is difficult or impossible if you try to pull everything together a week before your project is due. Projects that are researched, developed, and well executed will always stand out!

hqureshi11's work for the Develop Solutions step:

Summary
The first step towards developing my design was to use my bubble diagram to create a floor plan. This would also help me develop a solution to the flooding problem in the area.
This is the floor plan for the first floor of my structure, based on my bubble diagram, with...
These are some solutions I thought of for the flood spot predicament. The first is an elevated...
This is the floor plan for the second floor of my structure. Once again, I've labeled some...
These are a few views of my first rough model of my structure. This view clearly illustrates the...
These views show my feature wall based off of the bark of a tree.
This view shows the sculpture garden area and the elevated walkway to the main school building.
This is a materials study I created to complement my research for materials. For the "bark...

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Williams Natatorium at Cranbrook Academy Flickr.com © All rights reserved by Doctor Casino

The Final Design step of the design process is to create more finished drawings and models that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text, and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who may or may not have ever visited your school.

Try This

  • Review your design and test it against your original sucess statement that you wrote for the Overview. Does it meet this criteria?
  • Does your final design meet the expectations of the student athletes and athletic director that you interviewed?  If not, you may need to go back to the drawing board and revise your design.
  • For your final design, you will want to post a short but effective paragraph of your process and the unique solutions you found and developed. Tell us about your ideas and how they may or may not have changed over the course of the project.
  • You might want to share floor plans, elevations, renderings of your digital model, photos of a physical model, or a video animation of your model.
  • But you aren't done yet! Be sure to comment on other projects in the competition to foster, encourage, and build an online design community of learners in DiscoverDesign.  CAF will also recognize students that provide both encouragement and constructive criticism on students' work throughout the run of the competition.

hqureshi11's work for the Final Design step:

Summary
SOCIETY: The Athletic Pavilion at High Tech High School lies in the post-industrial town of North Bergen, NJ and services over 600 students and faculty.
Initial renders from Rhino
Initial renders from Rhino
Render with materials on Autocad 3ds Max
Render with materials on Autocad 3ds Max