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Project 11



This school building in Overtown, in central Miami, was one continuous code violation.  One of the two-story buildings didn't even have a second set of stairs from the second floor.  Two of the existing buildings were connected to each other via a walkway where the student had to go down about 8 steps, go across about 80 feet and then go back up into the second building up another 8 or 10 steps.  There was no way a handicap child could go from one part of the school to another, there were steps everywhere.  One of the buildings was from the era of windowless schools and did not have one window in any of its two stories.  Instead of railings on the second floors, the buildings had chainlink fences as railings.  This innercity school physical plant needed a lot of help!

We were asked to design a new building with 6-classrooms, ancillary facilities, and group and individual toilets; a 2-story classroom building remodeling which included several classrooms, the upgrading of toilet facilities to meet ADA, a computer lab, and a handicapped children's training facilities. 

When the building were finished all classrooms had windows, all second floors had real railings, all bathrooms were ADA accessible, steps were removed and new ramps were put in their place.  A new classroom building was integrated into the campus with new bathroom facilities for the children.  We removed the 80 feet of walkway between two of the two-story buildings and added a new set of stairs and an elevator.  We reconstructed the walkway at another elevation so children would not have to be going down steps to then have to go up again.  The project manager for Miami-Dade Public Schools wanted to add a lot of color throughout the campus, so she asked United Architects to develop a fun color scheme.  We came up with a mix of bright and soft colors throughout the school facility.  The school mascot and sign was embedded in the stucco of the elevator tower giving the elementary school a new identifying symbol visible from the street. 

Lastly, we designed the rainwater leaders with a shell configuration at the top.  Since these were throughout the campus they became a repetitive element in the design which pulled the buildings together with a little originality.   

Several views of the new classrom addition building and the building during construction

New classroom Building on the

left.  Building under construction

on the right.

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