Back to School at Don Bosco Preparatory High School
Welcome back to school! It has been one successful year since students at Don Bosco Preparatory High School began using the new facilities designed by MGA&D. The new buildings and landscape transformed the center of the campus from a parking lot to a collegiate-style quadrangle defined by existing and new buildings on all sides. It took several steps to get there, starting with a comprehensive master plan for the 35-acre campus.
Aerial view of campus before construction (left) and proposed masterplan (right)
Because we started with a comprehensive phased master plan for the campus, our building strategy produced the greatest immediate impact and value, and a clear framework for the future.
Don Bosco knew that they needed to expand dining facilities and classrooms housed in Immaculata Hall, an older building in need of renovation. Since renovating a crowded occupied building would impossibly compromise the school’s operations, MGA&D proposed a campus-wide master plan that concluded a new building produced the best economies and efficiencies Phase 1 interventions within the central 11 acres resolved outstanding issues with vehicular circulation, wetlands, and stormwater detention. Relocating parking was key to clearing the way for a new building site.
20-year master plan
The 20-year master plan sustainably balances buildings, site circulation and landscape. Wetlands preservation, stormwater management and infrastructure improvements complement the revised vehicular patterns and provide good stewardship of the land.
Savio Hall, a new 32,000-SF building, with new dining and kitchen facilities and 2 upper levels containing 16 well-lit classrooms, completes the fourth side of the academic campus and defines the new quadrangle. Third floor terraces overlook the campus and surrounding hills.
Savio Hall (left) and St. John’s Hall viewed from Savio Hall (right)
The form and articulation of Savio Hall draws on the traditional architecture of the adjacent 1915 landmark St. John’s Hall, balancing the rhythmic forms and proportion and scale of the brick arches with strong sense of transparency from the large expanse of glass. The glazed double-height dining hall acts as an extension of the outdoor quadrangle, enlivening both spaces.
Savio Hall detail
Savio Hall brickwork (left) and dining hall (right)
Replacing a former parking lot, the new quadrangle visually and physically unites the central buildings and becomes a hub for student activity. Its formal axis connects the dining hall in Savio Hall, the Founder’s statue and the new Sacred Heart Chapel, providing a sense of community and purpose.
View from the dining hall to the quadrangle (left) and view of the quadrangle toward the chapel (right)
Abundant natural light in classrooms and views of nature are known to enhance students’ ability to learn and their sense of wellbeing at school.
Upper level classroom
Sacred Heart Chapel is a 1,500-SF addition to Immaculata Hall on axis with the Founder’s statue and Savio Hall. Inspired by the scale and form of Tuscan hillside chapels, it rests on a stepped plinth and raised linear plaza for social gatherings.
Drone footage of Sacred Heart Chapel
The large colored glass windows and crosses clearly define the chapel’s purpose at the heart of the campus and the school’s mission.
Don Bosco Preparatory High School Construction Timelapse Video
Throughout the process, we worked with the Board of Directors on fundraising strategies and provided branding, renderings, a fly-by video, a campaign marketing video, and donor recognition. Because of the thoroughness of our planning and concept design, and our sophisticated digital modeling tools, our renderings are often hard to distinguish from the finished building. This is powerful for fundraising, allowing our clients and their donors to visualize the results.
[…] Our renderings are often hard to distinguish from the finished building. This is powerful for fundraising, allowing our clients and their donors to visualize the results.
Savio Hall rendering (left) and built (right)
With the initial transformation of the campus complete, future phases will include renovations to the existing buildings and eventually, a new fieldhouse for the school’s distinguished athletics programs.
Tata Housing – Colombo Square
In the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo, Michael Graves Architecture & Design is spearheading the design of what will be the preeminent sustainable landmark development in the city. This 4,000,000 square foot mixed-use development will be spectacularly sited in a prime area of the city. Located immediately adjacent to the oceanfront promenade known as the Galle Face on one side, and the incredible Beira Lake on the other, the project affords unparalleled views of both Biera Lake and the Indian ocean. Moreover, unit layouts and building orientation have been organized to provide both maximum privacy and maximum views, while also taking into consideration prevailing climate patterns to allow for natural ventilation and daylighting as part of the sustainability and design approach. Colombo is both the political and commercial capital of Sri Lanka and is poised for continued growth with business investment in finance, IT, and tourism all driving up demand for high-end residential, commercial, hospitality, and retail space in this city of 5.6 million. The project has been phased to allow for eventual completion of five towers (three residential, one commercial, and one hospitality) as well as a low-rise “jewel building” to mediate between the scale of the towers and the adjacent neighborhood. In addition to this function, the “jewel building” helps to define and shape the public space and retail shopping lanes of the project.
The design of the project, from landscape, to architecture, to interiors makes reference to the local colonial architecture, which, in turns, takes its cues from classical design which provides clear and orderly organization of space into a legible and navigable design. This design language has been mixed with local influences of climate, connection to nature, color schemes (as beautifully illustrated in the local “stupas”, or vernacular Buddhist temples), and textiles. It is through the measured balance and blend of these elements that the design team has been able to create an engaging and contemporary solution for the client.
Centrally located, with easy access to multiple transportation options, including road, air, rail and water, arriving at Colombo Square will be a breeze. The five-acre master plan of this development will ultimately be composed of five new towers, hosting residential, hospitality, and commercial programs. These towers, in conjunction with the masterfully designed landscape and public areas will complement and supplement the dense surrounding urban fabric which has existing amenities and features such as robust public transit, places of worship, parks, amusements, hotels, hospitals, and colleges within walking distance.
Colombo Square will also provide an enhanced environment for all who live, work, shop, stroll, overnight, visit, or simply come across the project. Most prominently featured will be Heritage Plaza. Located at the corner of the site, Heritage Plaza provides a welcoming “open door” to the project. Designed in partnership with world-class landscape architects Sasaki Associates, this public plaza faces and invites in the city. Instead of the typical approach of creating a street wall with the façade of a building, the design team recognized the critical importance of Colombo Square’s role in the civic life of the city and its inhabitants. As such, rather than building an edifice up to the street line, it was determined to create a multi-use plaza that would allow for flexible and varied programs in order to create the maximum interest, activity, enjoyment. The plaza will also feature moveable furniture, landscape elements and water features and will solidify Colombo Square as a cultural gathering space. Additionally, the open space design and approach was carefully and fully coordinated with the overall sustainability approach of the project and required the coordinated efforts of the entire design team from structural and building systems engineering, to landscape, sustainability, and architecture. Three core principles underlie this effort: resource conservation and protection; creation of both walkable and liveable environments to promote environmental and personal well-being; and engagement and integration into the community and fabric of the local neighborhood. In order to conserve resources Colombo Square has a robust water capture strategy that aims to recycle water and uses natural ventilation and shade to reduce the energy needed for day to day operations and the overall orientation of the massing promotes the southern prevailing winds to blow through the development. To integrate the existing urban fabric Michael Graves Architecture & Design was careful to fine tune the master plan layout, allowing for natural flow of people. Combining these elements, Colombo Square stands to make a strong positive impact on the local community.
Tata’s Colombo Square will be the development giant’s first foray into the Sri Lankan market, and as such, Michael Graves Architecture & Design is proud to have been the selected architect to design and deliver this world-class project. Colombo is truly a city of opportunity, growth, and fervent belief in the strong and exciting future that is laid out before it. Colombo Square is a project that embodies these themes and will make them visually and physically apparent as an iconic addition to the ever-growing skyline of the city.
Insights from Today’s Multidisciplinary Design Thinkers
The Young Architects Forum, a program of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the College of Fellows (COF), is organized to address issues of importance to recently licensed architects. The YAF’s online publication CONNECTION, featured Michael Graves Architecture & Design’s design team in their Jet Set Feature Story. Those who participated shared insights in a question and answer format on what it is like working in overseas market as a firm based in the United States. Designers Patrick Burke, Karen Nichols, Trevor Lamb, Tom Argires and Sara Minsley were interviewed by the Young Architects Forum. At various stages in their professional career, they discussed both the firm’s depth and breadth of experience as well as their own personal growth and development as integral parts of the design practice today.
Michael Graves Architecture and Design (MGA&D) is based in Princeton, NJ and New York City. The firm has completed numerous projects overseas and received over 300 awards for design excellence. The firm’s founder, Michael Graves, FAIA (1934-2015) was the recipient of the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, the AIA Gold Medal, the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton, the Richard H. Driehaus Price, and the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. Today, the practice continues to mentor the next wave of young talent while also taking on large-scale projects in Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, China, Singapore and the United States.
Here are some of the answers and insights from the Interview.
Karen Nichols comments on experiences working with an architect-of-record
“Instead of designing hotels that could be anywhere in the world, we realized that the character could more authentically interpret local vernacular. Typically, we do the design in the U.S., and the technical detailing and documentation are handled by local architects. In the Nile Corniche project, we and our associate HKS produced most of the architectural and interiors documents in the U.S. with advice from the local architect-of-record.”
Sara Minsley comments on her experience working in Sri Lanka
“In a high-rise residential and commercial project we’re working on in Sri Lanka, the towers need to be naturally ventilated. That drove the floor plans and façade design. If this project were happening in the United States, the plans and facades would have been influenced by other practices. In our projects, the architect plays an important role in synthesizing different cultural building practices while still maintaining our aesthetic design goals.”
Tom Argires discusses organizational differences in the build process
“Some countries place the architect at the top of the project responsibility matrix with the project management team and the contractor – slightly different from the American standard. This reversal of roles makes us think about tasks such as negotiation, scheduling, sequencing, and construction techniques through a different lens.”
Trevor Lamb recalls opportunity and growth as a young professional
“MGA&D is good at involving junior designers in larger, international projects at the earliest stages, and thus allows us to observe how seasoned architects in the firm manage clients, project teams, and design. For emerging professionals, this provides invaluable, first hand exposure to a successful framework for how we as a firm like to run these projects.”
Patrick Burke looks back on 35 years of experience outside of the United States
“Instead of designing hotels that could be anywhere in the world (the client actually wanted us to emulate a project we’d designed in Miami), we realized that the character could more authentically interpret local vernacular. Local craftsmen could easily build low-scaled brick and stucco buildings with vaults and domes and create a visitor experience tied to the climate, culture and landscape. This was a great lesson respecting the context.”