Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Design of a School

What is distressing about the design proposed for the single-story addition to Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School is its lack of compatibility with the original three-story Colonial Revival school building constructed as a WPA project in 1937. 

In  July, Gossips explored the question of compatibility and concluded that there was no way a one-story addition could be compatible with the three-story historic building: "Form Follows Function." The critical criteria that could never be met were massing, size, and scale.

People reviewing the above elevation at a workshop in June suggested that compatibility could only be within the architect's grasp if the building were two stories instead of a single story, noting the admirable compatibility of the 1997 addition that appears at the left in the elevation drawing.

A two-story building may be within our grasp. The latest edition of the HCSD Capital Project eNewsletter, distributed this afternoon, announced that because of unstable subsoil on the site of the proposed addition, "Superintendent Suttmeier has asked the architects to offer cost comparisons between a one-story and a two-story alternative design."

Those who care about protecting the design integrity of the historic WPA school building should keep their fingers crossed for that two-story alternative design.

1 comment:

  1. That design looks really terrible. Totally incompatible with a handsome historic building designed by architect Victor de la Prosse.