XS Elementary: A Space for Eccentricity
Master of Architecture
Sited prominently in midtown Houston, XS Elementary explores eccentricity as a new spatial and graphic model for the public elementary school in order to reconfigure the structure of the learning and urban environment, establishing flexibility through architectural specificity and formal affect. The project draws from the legacy of mat buildings, employing a dense unit-based framework that is both rationally systematic and embedded with pockets of productively discontinuous eccentric spaces. These auxiliary learning spaces expand education beyond the generic classroom and into an interconnected spatial sequence. Graphic and spatial techniques of jitter, shift, and overprinting reveal, generate, and reinforce moments of internal eccentricity, embuing an internal urbanity to the school and allowing the city to penetrate the institution. By engaging longstanding disciplinary efforts to design learning environments suitable to our time, this thesis confronts today’s electronic delivery methods and emphasis on efficient standardization, asserting that spatial, graphic, and urban play (the slightly off, odd, and peculiar in the face of standardization) is the avenue through which Architecture can exercise innovative and dynamic design, moving beyond the banal mediocrity of design for specialized efficiency’s sake.