Text description provided by the architects. With approximately 16000m² of buildings and 21000m² of exteriors and landscape design, the Rochester School’s Master Plan aimed for a strategy which reflected its own concept of academic community. Thus, as a premise, the HUBS (grouping system) appeared, looking for an educational model that integrate teachers and students disregarding grades and therefore fading out the traditional hierarchy of school formation.
Each HUB is configured trough a group of classrooms surrounding a central space known as an “Extended Learning Area” (ELA) which serves as a support area for activities happening inside each classroom. The ELA’s and the classrooms are divided by a folding enclosure that allows a full integration among classroom’s interior and exterior. Through the implementation of this strategy, we were able to provide different alternatives (layouts) for the learning environment to happen. Hence, the traditional learning process occurs inside the classroom, and afterwards students are able to share their experiences in the social space (ELA); where they can also interact in a different setting, and upgrade their group work between teachers and students.
Thus a geometrical composition for the HUB´s shaped like a flower (a nucleus surrounded by elements at the perimeter) was developed, and it was replicated throughout the site as a module, giving place to the general masses of buildings allocating classrooms; located on the central axis of the master plan. In addition, in order to isolate acoustically the scholar zone, and offer the greatest accessibility to services, the Master Plan was organized following five noticeable operating fringes:
1. Bus fringe with a circular circuit.
2. Colective Spaces fringe, where administration and sport areas are located.
3. HUB’s or Classrooms buildings.
4. Preschool Garden and a football field.
5. Water treatment system that also work as environmental control.
Finally, the Rochester School envisioned a “Green School Campus”, consequently environmental projects were implemented in order to achieve a LEED - GOLD certification, the highest standard awarded. With the objective set, each chapter (from design stage thought the construction process) had to pursue a smart use of materials and clean production processes, creating a minimal impact for the environment. In the same way, a water treatment system, renewable energy sources and new general technologies were included, not only to supply the School´s requirements for everyday use, but also to grant the operation of the swimming pool. These actions, in conjunction with the bioclimatic strategies considered for every building, set the School as an example of a conscious, innovative and responsible education centre.