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ACADEMY OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING AT RIPPOWAM CAMPUS, STAMFORD, CT WON THE BEST BRONZE FROM SCHOOL DESIGNER.

One of the challenges of this project was to find a proper balance of architecture, engineering and information technol-ogy that would create a functional, sculptural school building that would excite high school students studying these fields. However, these challenges were overcome. Now, students who enter the space can readily learn about the engineering aspects of the structure because the room has been designed to allow the structural, mechanical, electrical and informa-tion technology components to be openly exposed and easy to view.

The open amphitheater, atrium (with its 3-level steel stair-way), and functional, light-infused library (with its two-story cylindrical shape and 60’ translucent dome), provide the space with much-needed efficiency and flexibility. Books and functional items have been located on the exterior perim-eter wall, with reading and study functions in the center to provide flexibility for group instruction and after-hour activi-ties. Wireless electronic equipment on movable carts is also provided for the center study area.

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Beautiful panoramic views provided by this dome-shaped design are icing on the cake! Designed to bring the outside environment inside during the daytime hours and project the interior lighting outside after dusk, visitors are immedi-ately captivated by the natural light that floods the room, as well as its fluid space. According to Judge Jonathan Estrin, these two elements “... are an attractive combination.” Even teachers can appreciate the fantastic views from the teacher’s lounge. The lounge forms the second story of the library and has a view of the cyber café, cafeteria and distant athletic fields. Judge Susan Cohoon noted this added perk when she said “... most teachers’ lounges tend to be tucked in the building with little ventilation, let alone a view!”

When describing this design, these descriptive words and phrases from our judges accurately capture its beauty and functionality -

“... compelling and well-articulated” (Jonathan Estrin);

“A beautiful design...” (Kristine Mower);

“The dome creates a soaring, invigorating sense of space and light, drawing you upwards to the sky ... the stacks and mezzanine retain a warm, cozy feel ... a very comfortable place to research and study.” (Scott Goldman);

“Loved the use of space for ... instruction and having ... books on the exterior perimeter wall. It is difficult to find a design that would appeal to high school students and en-courage them to utilize the media/library center. The idea that the amphitheater and atrium can be utilized as an auditorium ... set up is very inviting, something high school students greatly need.” (Susan Cohoon)

Congratulations to Fuller D’Angelo for receiving the Bronze “BEST” Award for their “Academy of Information” design concept!

The Schooldesigner is a monthly e-newsletter published by Schooldesigner.com.