Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in Orlando, Florida is facing a situation urban schools in larger cities have faced for years: how to build technologically agile and sustainable  new elementary schools to education specification program requirements when the availability of urban land in populated areas of the county is steadily on the decline. Their call for help was answered with an innovative solution from HuntonBrady Architects (www.huntonbrady.com), an Orlando architecture firm OCPS recently selected to design a new urban elementary school prototype. The 625 student station school prototype is being designed in collaboration with Mateu Architecture and is based on a “kit of parts” concept which allows each individual future elementary school to be assembled using interchangeable components that respond to site-specific conditions. The prototype could be used in sites as small as four acres.

These flexible and adaptable modular components are self-contained and interconnected both horizontally and vertically. Separate components, such as a media center, cafeteria, and administration are self-sufficient buildings that can be used in school retrofits, as additions to existing schools, or as new prototype schools. The kit-of-part educational components could be configured around a courtyard, providing spaces for social interaction and organized meetings. In addition, each component has a specific “territory” and play area for outside activities. The kit includes components for:

  • One or two-story classroom wings
  • Classroom wings with single or double loaded corridors
  • Media Center
  • Administration
  • Dining
  • PE Pavilion
  • ESE/Skills Lab
  • Art/Music Labs

“The kit-of-parts we proposed for OCPS is highly adaptable to different site configurations, access points, solar orientation, and future growth plans for the school system,” said Maurizio Maso, AIA, Education Design Principal with HuntonBrady Architects. “Their kit not only produces a highly flexible system, but also one that can be constructed with a variety of competitive construction methods. Structurally, the prototype can be built using masonry, site-cast tilt-up construction or plant-cast panels.”

HuntonBrady Architects has designed over 4.5 million square feet of educational space over the past 40 years, including work with four public school systems, 14 community colleges, five university systems and 13 private schools throughout Florida.