FIRST PRIZE: 2012 national competition project #195 | cafeteria redesign

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Welcome to the 2012 DiscoverDesign National High School Architecture Competition!
These are the instructions for entering a design project in the competition.

Design Challenge Background
Cafeterias are often dark and crowded. They are uncomfortable and unhealthy.

Design Challenge Brief
The challenge is to redesign your high school cafeteria and re-think how your school’s cafeteria should, or could, function asas a healthy eating space. What does a cafeteria look like that is designed around a person’s needs?

You may redesign the interior of the existing cafeteria space, expand on the existing space, or design a completely new addition on to your school building. Your design should contain all the spaces and functions required for a typical school cafeteria – a variety of seating options for students (inside and out!), as well as a food storage, space for the kitchen, outdoor eating spaces, serving areas, and places to pay for the meal. You should also consider sustainability issues and the environmental impact of your design.

Background History:

Lane Tech College Preparatory High school is one of Chicago's largest schools in the state. The school opened in 1909 on a site of Division and Sedgwick as an all boys school. On September 17, 1934 the school expanded and moved to it's current location of Addison and Western. The school's building was "designed to allow the teachers and pupils to work in a comfortable environment." In 1971, girls were finally introduced to the student population. Soon after the school's academic quality increased and Lane Tech became one of Chicago's most prized high school. In more recent updates, Lane Tech included the expansion of an Academic Center in 2010. This Academic Center brings in the city's top 7th and 8th graders together to experience high school at an early age to be better prepared for high school. This addition causes an increase in the total student population and also creates more congestion in the classrooms, hallways, and especially the lunchroom.

Design Problem:

Lane has always been known as a highly populated school. A recent internet meme compared Lane Tech's hallways as being a bull stampede. To many students at Lane the lunchroom evokes the feeling of imprisonment because of the high ceilings and constant pacing of security guards along the aisles of the tables. For some students however, the lunchroom is the only place that they can get a meal to eat. The original design plan for the lunchroom meant to house up to 170 students. The school's overall population currently exceeds 4,000.

Design Solution:

The solution being proposed is to create a welcoming environment that can adapt to different types of situations whether its a population increase or decrease. A vegetable garden will also be incorporated into the design to teach students about healthy eating and sustainable practice. The current lunchroom will be added onto due to its enormous size on the site as well as its historic decorative elements located on the exterior wall's facade.

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In the Collect Info step of the design process, you try to gather as much information as possible about your existing school cafeteria, along with 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

  • Walk around the interior of your school building and take photos or a short video of the existing cafeteria. You can upload those photos or short videos here. Be sure to write a detailed description for every image.

Think About

  • How many students need to be seated in the cafeteria during one period?
  • What types of furniture is used in the existing cafeteria? Does it need to be movable? Why or why not?

Try This

  • Interview students, cooks, and other staff about what they think of the existing cafeteria.  What changes would they make to spaces if they had a choice?
  • Make a list of those features that you really like about how your cafeteria looks and functions.
  • Make separate list of all the ways that your current cafeteria is not so well designed (chairs may be uncomfortable or the light is poor, or there are really great outdoor eating areas).

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  • Take measurements of the overall dimensions of your existing cafeteria.
  • Take interior photos of the hallways and entrances that lead into your existing cafeteria.

Think About

  • What are the different pathways that students use to get into the cafeteria now?
  • What types of food are available in your cafeteria? How are they stored?

 

Try This

  • Visit Flickr or another photo sharing site and search for other types of cafeterias to determine good and bad examples of how cafeterias accommodate user’s needs, especially teens.

Think About

  • Does your new school cafeteria need to look like the same typical cafeteria with long rows of tables?  What other eating spaces around the world are inspiring and interesting?

Steezysteve's work for the Collect Information step:

Summary
I collected information by walking around the my school asking questions to students, taking photos, and experiencing the issues first hand.
Location of spaces and color diagram of traffic areas. YELLOW is LIGHT traffic areas, BLUE is...
This photo shows the historic lunchroom mural which will be kept in order to preserve the school...
The back entrance to the lunchroom and the boiler room's large chimney stack.
Solar Study of the site using Revit Architecture.
The site plan of Lane Tech College Prep. Located in Chicago's Northside. As you can see the...
This photo shows the south end of our school and the roof of our existing lunchroom. As you can see...

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In the Brainstorm Ideas step of the design process, 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 cafeteria location and design compare with your new ideas.

 

Try This

  • Walk around the exterior of your school building and take photos of possible locations for your new cafeteria with outdoor seating.

Think About

  • Will this cafeteria replace your school's existing cafeteria 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.

Try This

  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photo of your school. 

Think About

  • 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 library?
  • What types of streets surround your school? Are they busy or quiet?     

Try This

  • 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.)
  • Draw other lines on this diagram to indicate the best views around the building.

Think About

  • Based on the site analysis diagram you've sketched, where is the sun located throughout the school day? 
  • How can the indoor and outdoor seating areas of your new cafeteria be positioned to take advantage of the sunlight for good lighting?

Steezysteve's work for the Brainstorm Ideas step:

Summary
After assessing all of the major design flaws in the current lunchroom, the next step was to come up with ways to improve the lunchroom atmosphere.
This is an early developmental sketch of a perspective and section view that shows an addition...
Several diagrams showing the location of the addition and early stages of development. The diagrams...
Arranging the plan shape to accommodate for more seating and finding a alternative ways to support...
A case study on the Sarphatistraat Offices by Steven Holl Architects. This interior shot shows the...
This is a material study of Gary Comer College Prep's exterior cladding. The building was...
This is a case study of a roof farm made by a group called "Farmscape" in California. The...
A sketch showing how people will enter and exit the new addition. One solution I came up with was...

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

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teacher, and the competition judges - 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.

 

Try This

  • Make sure your cafeteria includes the following types of spaces and furnishings.
    - indoor seating area (tables, seating)
    - outdoor seating area (tables, seating)
    - food storage (shelves)
    - cook desk (place to check out)
    - small office for kitchen staff
    - bins for recycyling

 

Steezysteve's work for the Develop Solutions step:

Summary
Early 3-D massing in Revit Architecture helped me analyze the lunchroom addition through size and proportion. It also aided me on how it will actually fit on the site.
Early Massing of the addition to the lunchroom. It will be connected on the second level of the...
Experimenting with materials and patterns. Puncturing windows based on sunlight direction...
Rooftop gardens are a wonderful way to get students involved and provide a way to include healthier...
A view of the second level seating area behind the perforated screen.
A view of the upper level, showing steel beams and columns as part of the structural design. This...
This perspective shows the point of view looking up from the lower level of the addition

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The final step of the design process is to create more finished drawings 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.

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.

Continue to collect feedback from your peers, teachers and the online community to help you improve on your final design. Be sure to review and add constructive comments on the work of other students who are solving the same design problem. If your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account.

Steezysteve's work for the Final Design step:

Summary
My final design is a huge contrast compared to the existing building.
A perspective of the new roof garden and the new addition. A note on the finishes of the aluminum...
The interior shot viewed from the existing lunchroom. A retractable screen will roll down over the...
This plan shows the existing lunchroom seating, existing lunchroom services, and the entryway to...
Second Floor Plan.
The Roof floor or the Upper level of the addition.
3D Section