Mod-Kit - Modular Solutions for a Portable Problem
Belknap, Jesse Adam
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The portable classroom is a necessity for school districts across the country in need of quick capacity increases. Unfortunately, the standard design too often ignores the basic needs of the students and teachers who will be occupying it. The current design lacks access to good daylight and adequate ventilation, both of which have been shown to be critical to student performance. In addition, portable classrooms place a strain on shared resources by adding student capacity without increasing the capacity of the supporting infrastructure. Finally, portables are seen as an eyesore, detached from the larger school community. A school should be an inspirational place both visually and mentally, and an uninspiring classroom can have a critical effect on a student's love for learning. The solution to the problem of portables begins with a "better box" - a series of improvements to the standard double-wide portable classroom. But this is not enough. It is neither economically feasible nor environmental responsible to replace the thousands existing portables around the country. A true solution must address the buildings already in existence, not just those yet to come. This proposal includes three retrofit solutions, add-on parts that can be applied to either the new or the old standard designs. The first is a rooftop system that provides controllable daylight and greatly improves ventilation and air quality within the classroom. The second intervention is a new ramp system that helps to shape outdoor space while providing a sense of fun and excitement that is sorely lacking from the current portable design. Finally, a proposed self-contained bathroom unit can provide relief to overtaxed infrastructure without the need for expensive hookups to city water and sewer lines. Through these modular solutions, this thesis aims to give school districts realistic, affordable options that allow them to improve their inevitable portable classrooms where they need it most.
- Architecture