Honorable Mention - Top 10 Finalist - Victoria Ereskina - Redesign Your School Athletic Pavilion | 2014 National High School Architecture Competition #5
The Brooklyn Technical High School first floor gymnasium is the school’s largest gym by far. Its ceiling extends to the third floor; on the second floor is a track that runs around the perimeter of the gym. It is open to the first floor gym below it. However, it is still quite small for a school of its size. The main problem with the gym is its unreasonable use of the space it does have, which leads to lack of equipment, and, finally, to the lack of variety in the types of activities students can do. Another problem is ventilation. The last issue addressed will be the fact that the placement of spaces causes students and classmates to interfere with one another.
This project will solve these issues by reasonably expanding the gym outward, allowing the addition of storage spaces and a teacher's office, and changing the means by which the gym is enclosed and its spaces separated, while adding a refreshed, updated look, new equipment, means to secure the equipment, and other details such as a speaker system for higher spirit.
While having a lack of equipment, as the interviewed gym teachers all agree, the gym also has too much equipment that is not used during class. It only stands there because there is nowhere to store it; it gets in the way of the students. Items such as basketball hoop stands and soccer goals can be brought into a storage room. Notice the condition of the equipment—the balls are cheap, broken, deflated, ripped, and dirty.
The instructors would like to have a table that is isolated or guarded somehow from the rest of the gym, and lament the gym’s size.
Athletic business, an architecture firm, designed Auburn track (shown in the next slide) that is wider than the current school track and provided a cage fence railing that wouldn’t let an average gym projectile through. Extending this type of railing up for better blocking wouldn’t be a problem.
Students agree that is a nuisance to change on the 3rd floor of the building and then go down to the first floor gym. It cuts class time and is is crowded in the largest of the two school locker rooms. Adding a third pair (male/female) would cut time from getting to the gym and back and would be more secure in terms of locker theft.
Storage can be addressed by adding shelving fixtures in a room to be made in the gym. A room with tall, wide pocket doors could be made to hold portable/collapsible bleachers.
The overhang can legally expand the current gym area by up to 58%. The materials to use for the additional overhang of the gym over the existing parking lot would be translucent but not transparent. Light passes through, but shapes are not clearly visible. Cast acrylic is ten times stronger than glass and half the weight. The texture can be made to match that of the rest of the gym’s floors by adding a coat of wood polish, which wouldn't even be necessary because of the roughness coefficient of properly sanded cast acrylic.
Parts of the lot will be dedicated to various activities and equipment. The area on the South Elliot Street side will have a room dedicated primarily to aerobic exercises and dances. Its equipment includes stepping blocks, speakers, jump-ropes, yoga mats, and mirror walls. There will be a movable wall to act as sound insulation and general space separation. This side of the lot borders the side of the school building. The area on the side of Fort Greene Street (typically a quiet street), or the east side of the building, will be dedicated to batting cages. These cages are to be used by the baseball and softball teams of the school as well as the other students. Batting cages open after scanning the student’s fingerprint because it is annoying to carry a plastic ID card during physical activity. If a student is failing some classes or has previously damaged this equipment, he or she could be denied access for a period of time. The rest of the expanded area will be a continuation of the gym.
The side of the gym that is opposite the torn-down wall will contain a storage area, locker rooms for students, and a teacher's office. To prevent theft from the storage rooms, there will be a code dial controlling the doors. With equipment secure, quality products can be purchased.
The expansion into the yard would be covered with a mullion curtain wall system. Natural light will create an out-doors feeling. Out of the 15 physical education classes that are able to take place simultaneously, only 2 to 3 can take place outside at a time. This is during the scarce warmer months. Furthermore, students aren't allowed out of the building at any time during school hours because there is no schoolyard. Natural lighting will save electricity costs while creating a more pleasant environment for physical activity.
Other enhancements include basketball hoops that can be raised/lowered in place of the large clumsy stands, volleyball/badminton nets that scroll into the wall and out, goals that can be covered or uncovered by the wall finish, recessed drinking fountains, bottle-filling stations, shelves to store water bottles, and remote-controlled window opening. Panels will also be put in a couple of places around the track for racing purposes; touching them indicates who finished first in a race. Finally, the gym will overall have a new speaker system for clear announcements, instructions, score keeping, and motivational music.
The track is separated from the rest of the gym with a curtain wall mullion. It is not expanded because the shaft on the South-East side is a stairway and would be impractical to relocate. Forcing the track around it would create too many turns for good running.
The gym has seven storage spaces on its North side, all accessible only through the security keypad. Each storage room has a pocket door 10 feet tall for basketball hoop stands and any other tall equipment, such as folded bleachers. It also has shelving for storage. In the middle of the row of storage rooms is the gym instructor’s office, with a regular door and a window.
The overhang is supported by beams. Along the beams and mullion edges, it is lit with long fluorescent light fixtures, which illuminate the translucent, but not transparent, floor panels.
The proposed design solved the issues underlined in the overview and collect info and included other enhancements, keeping in mind the ability to build it and its sustainability once it has been built.
There is now a very broad spectrum of physical activities one can do in the gym; there are weight training machines, batting cages, stationary bikes, a pull-up bar, a wider track, and a dance studio/yoga room.
These are placed out of each other’s way because the expansion accommodates for the much-needed space. Also, movable walls and collapsible bleachers are utilized for versatility.
The overall experience is made more convenient with the addition of bottle-filling stations, racks for the bottles, two locker rooms, mirrors, ballet bars, speaker system, full shielding of track from gym, secure storage for additional bleachers and basketball hoops, secure storage for miscellaneous equipment, and a teachers’ office. The environment is not only more lively with more activities and music, but also takes advantage of natural lighting when outdoor access is limited.
Mullions of glass and cast acrylic make the design more modern while maintaining the original stone tiles and parquet floor.