In March, Managing Principal Gail Sullivan and veteran Project Manager Steve Michener were invited to present at the Massachusetts School Building Authority Designer Roundtable about cost-conscious school design. Joined by colleagues at Arrowstreet and HMFH, Studio G spoke to the ways in which we approach designing cost-conscious, efficient and beautiful buildings. Since Studio G’s inception in 1993, we have built over 20 public and independent schools and over 30 early education centers, and have earned a reputation for delivering successful projects on modest budgets. These projects include 10 Charter Schools in the Commonwealth with budgets of $280-350/ SF, lower than average for recent MSBA schools. Studio G shared key elements of our cost-conscious design approach.
Materials and Systems for Cost-Conscious School Design
Key elements of cost-conscious design approach
- Simple Massing and Structure: every variation in massing volume or material should be meaningful
- Flexible, Multi-Purpose Spaces: including use of nearby community resources: library, auditorium, athletic fields
- Exterior Cladding and Finishes: use Construction Managers to test market, identify current cost-conscious options
- Interior Finishes: emphasis on durability, indoor air quality
- Pre-Engineered Gymnasium Design: steel frame and insulated metal panels, expedited schedule
- Building Systems, HVAC Design: based on life-cycle costing, energy use over time
- Process for Cost-Conscious Design: provide data for client decision-making
- Integrated Design Process: collaboration to ensure effective choices
- Discipline and Rigor: perseverance throughout programming and design processes
Excel Academy Charter School in East Boston, pictured above, is our most recently completed school project. Excel Academy was built for under $300/SF, came in $1M under budget and opened one month early.