A prime example of how older buildings can be recycled and find new life, the renovation/addition for Richland School District Two's Center for Knowledge transforms two unoccupied classroom buildings into an innovative school community with simple, strategic renovation planning and a modest but careful addition. The solution has received several awards including Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects, South Carolina Chapter and Greater Columbia Section, and the "Best in Class- Renovation" award by the SC Chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners (CEFPI).
A modest sized addition is placed between the two renovated classroom wings to create a new office and campus entrance. The addition's finish floor elevation is set between the two wings, minimizing the transition in grade and anchoring the accessibility path between the classroom buildings. The front lobby is day-lit with a generous floor to ceiling curtainwall façade that reinforces the sense of openness while providing staff an opportunity to observe visitors approaching the campus. An architectural marquee is featured perpendicular to the front entrance, reinforcing the new identity for CFK and countering the horizontality of the classroom buildings. An amphitheater is sculpted from the grade between the two classroom wings and addition, providing the outdoor teaching and gathering space so strongly advocated by teachers and students. Its organic form animates what was previously a grassed, non-descript space difficult to monitor or use constructively.
All Images ©Rion Rizzo - Creative Sources Photography