Photo © Paul Warchol Photography

CASE STUDY: Rogers IB Environmental Magnet School, Stamford, Connecticut, Tai Soo Kim Partners, LLC

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Architect: Tai Soo Kim Partners, LLC
CLIENT: Stamford Public Schools

Masonry: CMU – Westbrook Block
Metal/glass curtainwall: EFCO
Elastomeric roofing: TPO – Firestone
Aluminum Windows: EFCO

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Program: A two-story, 106,000-square-foot elementary and middle school with an environmental studies curriculum. The project transforms a brownfield into a LEED Silver school with sustainable features including a rain filtration garden and a wind turbine. A wing housing the cafeteria, gymnasium, and library is topped by a green roof, while an adjoining cluster of wings contains classrooms and a staff meeting room.

Design concept and solution: Charged with transforming a former pharmaceutical research-and-development facility into a sustainably designed public school, Tai Soo Kim Partners used the foundation of the existing structure for mechanical spaces and rainwater storage; they demolished the rest and used two-thirds of it as fill. The architects wanted the new structure to fit in seamlessly with the natural environment, and to suggest the feeling of standing in the middle of a meadow. Building at the base of a steep knoll, they positioned the green roof to look like an extension of the landscape. The roof undulates to maximize the height of the gymnasium, whose skylights and clerestory windows allow the space to rely primarily on daylighting. The architects organized the wings of the school—clad with cedar siding and stonelike concrete blocks—to emphasize the outdoor spaces. The high-traffic gymnasium wing looks out onto the rain garden, and two small classroom wings flanking the garden are angled slightly away from each other to help the space feel more expansive.

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