Bringing 21st Century Flexibility to the Classroom

May
26
2017

Located in Miami, Florida, St. Brendan High School is a state of the art learning institution. This $9-million dollar, 60,000 square-foot project included the construction of a new specialty classroom building with administrative offices on an active, occupied campus. The facility houses a modern media classroom, science and physics labs, as well as a 3,500 square-foot multipurpose space that can fit up to 500 occupants. This new building is called the Innovation Center and is the first new addition on campus since the school was built in 1975. The Innovation Center is a structure you can’t miss—it features a cantilever angled curtain wall that extends out toward the new building’s entrance.

In 2012, St. Brendan High School developed a curriculum that was geared toward preparing students for the future, both college and career. Four paths were developed, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Law & Global Business, Medical Sciences, Medical Sciences and Visual/Performing Arts. The challenge facing the design team was to take a 40-year old school with limited space and make it flexible enough to fit that new curriculum. Unfortunately, collaborative group learning brings another challenge of its own to the project—high levels of noise.

St. Brendan’s School houses a modern media classroom, science and physics labs, as well as a 3,500 square-foot multipurpose room that can fit up to 500 occupants. Functioning as the project team’s flexible space partner, Hufcor was able to lend their expertise in space management to provide custom, world-class operable partitions and glass walls that allow the space to serve more than one purpose while complementing new curriculum.

Hufcor’s Ultra™ Acoustic GlassWall™ products were used to provide a physical separation of space without compromising the visual benefits of observational learning, which according to Educational Psychologist Albert Bandurayet, is the learning that takes place through watching others learn. Hufcor’s products—be it glass or traditional movable partitions—can be very instrumental in any educational setting. St. Brendan High School is just one of many projects with this type of learning concept and while glass is essential to the design, it also provides the ability for students to get the most out of the space.

Hufcor’s Ultra™ Acoustic GlassWall™ systems provide a 46 STC barrier between the classrooms and multi-purpose learning space. This acoustical separation meets the recommendations set by the Acoustical Society of America standards set forth for designing school learning spaces for optimal audio intelligibility. These standards are outlined within the ANSI ASA S12.60 standards that are referenced in LEED for Schools 2009 requirements.

In the multipurpose space, Hufcor installed operable partitions to provide flexibility for various types of student activities such as college presentations, testing and grade-level meetings. The 642 Series Operable Wall is used to provide superior sound separation in the space.

Arnaldo Delgado, Project Manager from Zyscovich Architects said it best: “The system brings 21st century flexibility to the classroom spaces by allowing visual and physical connection to the extended learning areas. Essentially, it provides separation without disconnection.”

The Science of Sound Part VII: Beating Flanking Paths

The first step to beating flanking paths is to look at how all of the elements work together from floor to roof-the partition, the space between the ceiling and the roof, the floor, even HVAC ductwork can help or hinder flanking paths.

The Science of Sound Part VI: Flanking Paths

Shoddy construction, customary construction practices, or poor installation of the partition can all contribute to the leaks, known as flanking paths.

Hufcor Joins ‘Making Room’ Exhibit in D.C.

While Hufcor is well-known for movable wall systems within commercial market segments such as education, office, hospitality and convention centers, the solutions for this exhibit are to promote architectural thought expansion for future shifts in demographics and lifestyle changes.