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Part 4 A School is Born - Materials


After the base building framing was completed it was time to start applying the finishes. Responding to the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA)'s need for long-lasting, affordable and easy to maintain finishes, all floor materials were selected with increased durability compared to equivalent cost materials used in similar schools. Additionally, incorporating interesting color patterns, even using standard materials like VCT, adds a touch of visual interest aimed at making the environment more appealing to the children.

Precision tile installationIn creating a welcoming atmosphere for the school, a standout design element is the custom-designed ceramic tiles that decorate the lobby and vestibule. Circular sourced these tiles from one of the SCA's pre-approved suppliers and coordinated production to ensure there would be no schedule impact from the lead time.

Incorporating and playful geometric pattern, the tiles introduce the themed wayfinding colors used throughout the project, and add a sense of movement and delight to the school's entrance. This design choice isn't just aesthetic; it's a form of "core memory" for the children, ensuring that the school feels inviting and engaging, creating lasting positive impressions.

Precise Terrazzo installation.Terrazzo tile flooring was selected for the lobby and vestibule to complement the aesthetic of the milwork, wall tiles and ceiling treatment. Considering the high foot traffic anticipated throughout the building's lifespan, durability was a key factor in material choice, while still adhering to the program's budget constraints. The installation process involved careful work, with precise cutting and placement of the 24” x 24” tiles to align with the wall patterns and lines.

Innovative finish choices pave the way for enduring and visually captivating environments.

VCT in classroomsThe classroom flooring follows the SCA's mandated use of VCT, or "Vinyl Composition Tile," a resilient flooring widely known for its durability and easy maintenance, especially in commercial and institutional settings. Adding a touch of personalization, each classroom features a unique color pattern and color theme. For a cohesive look, the classroom doors, columns and accent walls are painted in the same color as the primary VCT theme—in the photo above, the prevalent hue is blue.

Materials were chosen for durability as well as delight.

Exercise room full of color.The exercise room is equipped with padded floors and walls, designed to ensure safety during play activities. Vibrant color accent highlights wrap from the walls onto the floors, and provide a sense of scale along the length of the space. The lighting fixtures allow for selective dimming depending on the programming of the space. 

Colorful restroomsThe toilets are equipped with child-specific fixtures, incorporating toilets and sinks at appropriate heights and scales for toddlers. The ceramic floor and wall tiles include accent colors and patterns to add a lively touch to a traditionally utilitarian space.

Next post we will talk about the complexity of the Mechanical Systems that make this school significantly more efficient than a standard one.

Or jump to any Chapters: Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5

Accent colors and patterns to add a lively touch to a traditionally utilitarian space.

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