UNITED ARCHITECTS, INC. OPHELIA BROWN LAWSON HEAD START FACILITY, A PRE-SCHOOL BUILDING 4000 PONCE DE LEON BLVD., SUITE 470 CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA 33146 UNITED ARCHITECTS WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1986 OWNED BY WOMAN ARCHITECT, MARIA LUISA CASTELLANOS, R.A., LEED AP, CGC
LAWSON Rendering Showing Entry This view shows the walkway from the existing building next door extending under the eyebrows at the entry. BROWN OPHELIA FACILITY HEAD START
HEAD START Building Area: (sf) 14,800 Cost per Square Foot: $230 Construction Cost $3.4 Million Date of Completion: August 2009 Program Summary: The program for the pre-school building consisted of 6 classrooms, two multi-purpose classrooms, offices, bathrooms, kitchen, and support spaces. Program Statement: Although the client for this building had been given a partial grant to build this facility, they wanted a building which did not look institutional. They requested halls which were not straight. Since it was for children, they wanted a fun building. Next to our proposed building, 8’-0” away on the west side of the project site, was a building which had won design awards and published in Progressive Architecture . I wanted to make sure that our building not only honored the existing building, but to a degree, also blended with it. The original building was a play of curves and rectangles, so our building took its key from that and continued with the scheme. The exterior of the building has freeform eyebrows, while the main body of the building is a practical, functional rectangular building. The center of the building houses the offices, employee lounge, and conference room. There is a meandering corridor around this area. As the client requested, none of the walls are straight. Placed around this corridor, the classrooms face the outdoors. The windows of the regular classrooms face east and south, for the best natural sunlight possible. The lobby with its high ceiling faces north, which is a good exposure for an area with much glass. The windows throughout are shaded with wide curving eyebrows. Outside the building there is a playground with a bench which mimics the curves of the building next door.
HEAD START Renderings from east and north sides of building The rendering on top shows the windows to the classrooms which are on the east side, taking advantage of the morning sun. The bottom rendering shows the front entrance and the windows to the lobby on the north side of the building.
HEAD START Front Entrance This is a photograph of the front of the pre-school building. This is where the children are dropped off and the parents and staff can park. The site that was given to us was very small to accommodate all the functions required. In a better scenario the drop off area and the parking would be separate, but in this case we had no choice. We had a very limited amount of space.
HEAD START Site Plan The new building as seen here is as close to the eastern boundary as was permitted by the zoning we were given. The only access road to the building is on the north side and we used it to access the building, the parking, and the drop off. On the east of our building is an existing building which was published many years ago in Progressive Architecture. Although our building was not officially an addition, in a way, it was. We wanted to be sensitive to the existence of that building and as you can see here, we used some of the same curves but in a different way. The rear of the building, on the south side, exits to the Playground which is fenced for the protection of the children. Here the bench for the teachers supervising the children mimics the retaining wall of the adjacent building. For rainy days there is a covered terrace for the children to play. A tricycle path wraps the immediate play area on the south and west sides.
HEAD START Front Entrance Close up Here you can see the front eyebrow up close.
HEAD START Floor Plan The interior core inside the main corridor houses the administrative areas, including offices, conference room, clinic, and staff lounge. On the east and south sides of the main corridor, with the best sunlight, are the regular classrooms. Each classroom has its own bathroom for the children as well as its own storage area. In addition to the 6 regular classrooms, there are two multipurpose classrooms which can be united into one large room for special events. Adjacent to this room is the commercial kitchen for catering any special events. Normally, the kitchen is to be used as a catering kitchen for food to be brought from the outside. Adjacent to the Reception/ Waiting Area is a Parent’s Room for parents to use in meeting with staff . The Visitors’ Bathrooms are also adjacent to the Reception. Next to these bathrooms are the Staff Bathrooms, but facing to the interior corridor. The condensing units are surrounded by a screening wall.
HEAD START Close-up of Front Eyebrow Anther view of eyebrow and curved wall (in the background) hiding the dumpster.
HEAD START Building Elevations Here are the four elevations of the building.
HEAD START Reception Desk This view of the lobby shows the reception desk. The plan below shows the Reception/ Waiting Area
HEAD START Rear of the Building This view shows the Playground Area and the covered play area
HEAD START Rear of Building This photo shows the covered play area with the bench in the foreground