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Competition Winner of Modular Catagory for: 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom

The pea is a simple dry fruit which develops from a simple carpel and usually opens along a seam on two sides. A common name for this type of fruit is a "pod".

Function and parts: Seeds develop within the confines of a pod whose walls provide numerous functions for the seeds. Pod walls serve to protect the seeds during development, they are part of the pathway that delivers nutrients to the seeds, and they can metabolize storage products for transfer to the seeds.?
Conceiving the next generation portable classroom begins with a holistic assessment of what these structures are used for, how they work or don’t work, and how the end users can benefit from improving the standard. Portable classrooms serve unlimited functions for unlimited conditions. By using the basic concept of a portable classroom while modifying the basic design and components, the potential for creating substantially better learning and teaching environments can be achieved.?

In the United States, the primary function of portable classrooms has been to provide additional educational spaces to existing school facilities, most often on a temporary basis. Our school partner, Dekalb County School System, has been using portable classrooms in this way for years. However, these temporary solutions are being used increasingly to solve more permanent special needs. It is becoming common for these aging and poor quality portables to stay at the same location for over 5 years. The portable classrooms are widely used because they are inexpensive relative to conventional construction and provide short term solutions to what are often times long term problems. Cost has long been the obstacle keeping the portable classroom at a level of basic functionality from the standpoint of usability and flexibility. By using readily available, more durable materials in innovative ways, the industry standard for portable classrooms can be transformed into high performance, sustainable, engaging learning environments. These newly envisioned structures can re-establish education as the focus of their function, through adaptive spaces and materials.

Introducing the “PeaPoD”?

The PeaPoD portable classroom implements cost-conscious building materials to create a learning environment which can be adapted to any environment. With generous daylighting, operable windows, and natural ventilation, the PeaPoD can operate with significantly lower utility costs while at the same time providing a wonderful and refreshing educational experience to the students and teachers. Numerous design features such as sun shades, integrated rainwater collection, photovoltaic roof panels, and sustainable materials including FSC certified wood, high-reflective roofing and bio-based insulation and flooring, make the PeaPoD an excellent example of passive and active green building strategies. Creative thinking behind classroom standards such as marker boards, group work tables, and computer stations are evident in the PeaPoD’s interiors. The interiors are comprised of walls which slide to reveal breakout learning space, storage, glazing, or teaching surfaces. Each side of the PeaPoD serves a different purpose, whether it is a wet wall with bathroom facilities, a glass wall which opens to provide access to an exterior classroom space, or a deep wall that provides ample storage.

It is no secret that every student learns differently; similarly every teacher teaches differently. Classroom environments which are adaptive and can meet all of these needs are proven to be the most successful. The goal of any classroom is to have inspired teachers and engaged students. If these are in place there is no limit to the success of everyone involved. This type of adaptive learning environment can happen, and it can happen anywhere: Portable Educationally Adaptive Product of Design, the PeaPoD.

List of materials and products used in PeaPoD

Reflective cap sheet (GAF® EnergyCAP Energy Saving Sheets™ - SRI-90)
Cold-applied Modified Bitumen Roofing
Structural Insulated Panel (SIP Sheathing + Compressed Wheat Straw Insulation)
Composite wood and steel flitch beam using FSC certified wood

Tube Steel & wide flange beams
Bio-based spray-foam insulation
MIGRATIONS™ BioBased Tile™ with Biostride (finish)

2”x6” nominal FSC certified wood deck joists and beams
FSC certified wood decking

Structural Insulated Panel - wall
Gypsum wall-board (interior finish)
Thermo-ply sheathing drainage panel
Metal panel rain-screen cladding with mark-able surface (exterior finish)
Reclaimed wood plank rain-screen cladding OR hardi-plank panels (exterior finish)

50% fritted glazing in clerestory & storefront systems
Aluminum sill flashing on wood blocking

Additional features:
Steel adjustable-height pier
Greengrid® green roof system (portable tray modules)
FSC certified plywood shelving
Heat exhaust fans
Direct-indirect lights using T8 fluorescent bulbs
Marker boards

Optional & Alternate features:
Rainwater HOG (gray water collection)
Photovoltaic panels
Passive solar water heating system


Competition Category Entered

Competition Details

  • Name: 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom
  • Host: Architecture for Humanity
  • Type: Public
  • Registration Deadline: May 4, 2009
  • Submission Deadline: June 1, 2009
  • Entry Fee: $25 USD Developed Nations , $0 USD Developing Nations
  • Award: $50,000 for the winning school for classroom construction and upgrading, and $5,000 stipend for the design team.
  • Contact: Sandhya
  • Status: Winners Announced

The competition entry ID for this project is 3598.

Project Details

LOCATION: Unspecified location
START DATE: January 28, 2009
CURRENT PHASE: Design complete
, Architecture for Humanity

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