PROVIDENCE, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Symmes Maini & McKee Associates (SMMA) has been given an Honor Award by the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for the design of the Archie R. Cole Middle School in East Greenwich, RI. It is one of only two awards given in the chapter’s educational/institutional category.
“We are pleased to win this award, and especially that AIA Rhode Island cited the contextual nature of the project,” said SMMA’s Edward Frenette, AIA, design architect for Cole Middle School. “We were challenged to put a 110,000 square-foot building in an established residential neighborhood. We also had to keep the existing school operational as construction proceeded.”
To avoid the appearance of being out of scale for the neighborhood, SMMA created a stepped design that integrates with the residential community by locating the highest point of the building central to the site and stepping the building down to the residential street. The plan of the school is a long, narrow configuration organized along an east/west axis that optimizes solar orientation and allows rainwater to be harvested from the long, sloping roofs. Other sustainable features of the building include high-performance glazing to optimize daylight harvesting, skylights and clerestory windows with daylight sensors, sunshades on the southern façade to control sunlight, high performance lighting with energy performance 30% above code, demand control ventilation that lessens the need for air conditioning and a 50kw photovoltaic system.
The Cole Middle School, which accommodates 573 students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade, also represents the latest thinking in producing learning spaces for Middle School students, teachers and administrators. To enhance both behavior and learning, the academic west wing of the school is divided into six social units of less than 100 students each. These social units, or team teaching areas, are comprised of four core classrooms and a teacher planning area. Team teaching is based on the premise that the best learning takes place in an intimate environment in which the child shares a supportive bond with peers and a family of teachers and advisors.
SMMA, a multi-disciplinary firm comprising architecture, engineering, planning, interior design, project management and landscape architecture, has offices in Providence, RI, Cambridge, MA, and Chapel Hill, NC. The firm is a leading architect in the K-12 market, having produced more than $1.4 billion in projects over the past two decades.