Grace STEM Academy

Grace STEM Academy and Community Center

 Architect: Andre Johnson Architect (visit website)

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
100 Word Description: The Grace S.T.E.M. Academy and Community Center is a 39,000 square foot building that serves the community surrounding St. Augustine’s University. The design of the project is a response to the character of the neighborhood and to the existing site. The building functions in several different capacities to serve the needs of the community. The project is kindergarten through Fifth grade private elementary school focused on STEM curriculum with special programs focused on sustainability. The project also serves as a community center and social hub for the area. The project serves as a religious facility for the Grace AME Zion Church. ¬¬The facility is targeting LEED Platinum and is integrating several sustainable site features to mitigate the projects impact on stormwater for the site.
Architect’s Statement: The project program a functioning K-5 school that would meet all of the program requirements for instructional areas based on NCDPI standards. The project would also need to function as a church and community center. The design focused on the best way to organize the program requirements so that each function would work together to limit the need for multiple buildings. The design responded to the site and to the neighborhood through a respectful response. Massing was kept relatively low and the mass of the building was “carved” to create a varying façade that responded to the residential buildings nearby. Light was used as a central theme to the development of the project.
Construction Type: The building is constructed of a steel structure a double exterior wall in some locations. The main wall system is an exterior wall system with white metal panels and a channel glass wall set apart from the main thermal wall. Curtain wall and white metal wall panels are used to accent the luminous channel glass. The building also uses site cast concrete for site, retaining and building basement walls. Light is transmitted and manipulated through the building through a series of skylights and in some areas filtered by elliptical aluminum tubes. Building systems include geo thermal systems for HVAC, LED lighting and water reclamation through cisterns. The intake and exhaust for the mechanical systems are all handled through “chimneys” that are the size and shape of the skylights such that no vertical louvers are need for the building.
Photography: Andre Johnson Architect