Open System School Design

Standardization of structural and exterior construction elements as follows:

  • The elements should be designed and constructed for the maximum expected loads so that they can be used at all floors, all locations; that they can be flipped vertically or horizontally etc.,
  • The actual materials and their composition should be subject to full R&D phase with all required testing and calculations,
  • There are so few elements that it would be worth considering on site manufacturing (during the foundation work) and eliminating transportation cost,
  • The manufacturing of the elements can be treated as the NYC concrete production – city wide operation and eliminating minimum three (3) different manufacturers requirement,
  • Façade column/duct shaft – single element used for all conditions,
  • Interior column/corridor element – single element used at all typical spans,
  • Full floor high structural/architectural element spanning typical classroom space,
  • Spandrel beam,

These four (4) basic elements are used for entire non-long span area of the school building bar (70’-0” wide and as long as required by POR).

  • Structurally modified and combined full floor high structural/architectural and interior corridor elements form long span structural element used for auditorium and gymnasium spaces,
  • combined with spanning typical classroom space,
  • Interior corridor element as part of long span structural element – full ceiling to higher floor height structural to ,
  • Spandrel beam,
  • Extracting structural segments of the building utilizing up to 80% of the materials physical properties
  • Straight forward design and construction of the building envelope with minimal structural elements using just a few pre-constructed elements,
  • Design and production of the line of the structural/architectural elements for various POR or school buildings design
  • Exterior Column + Vertical Shaft Element – ECS – “U” shaped extrusion full floor height vertically stacked up to five floor elements
  • Interior Column + Corridor Core Element – ICC – Rectangular extrusion of the corridor segment including floor
  • Short Span + High Division Element – HDE
  • Exterior Spandrel +
  • Use of the composite materials is expected – physical sizes of the elements are enormous in comparison to the standard steel beams so the actual structural properties should be minimal – the structurally required area total area should represent a miniscule percentage of the total element area – if you just tide bamboo sticks 15’-0” high extrusion it will span 60’-0”,
  • Entire system can be considered as a new substantial step in the development of the traditional 20’-0” x 20’-0” mushroom columns industrial building; this time without the columns and with entire floor column-free spaces,
  • Combination of two short span elements with interior column/corridor element form a Long Span Public Assembly Element – LS,
  • All elements (except the exterior column/shaft elements) includes full floor structure – floor + ceiling – entity so they are used at every second floor (floors in-between are empty leftover spaces) providing seamless non-overlapping cost efficient solutions,
  • All exterior elements are made in the controlled environment – maximum quality,
  • Limited length of the on site made joints – 75 years maintenance free building life expectancy is easy achievable,
  • Fast erection of the watertight base structure – end of the system application,


Open System for School Design and Construction

This is an attempt to enhance and simplify the entire process of school design and construction utilizing the following methods and elements:

  • The school buildings are complex spatial and functional structures with short and long span spaces along double loaded corridors using stairs as main vertical circulation elements,
  • They should be flexible maintenance free buildings with 75 years of life expectancy,
  • Typical instructional space is a 750SF classroom; half module are special educational classrooms or typical offices; one and a half or two modules are large instructional spaces,
  • Public assembly spaces can be with columns (cafeterias and libraries) or column free long span spaces (gymnasiums and auditoriums including some multi-use spaces),
  • Only gymnasiums and auditoriums are double height long span spaces,
  • Typical classroom configuration is a long double loaded four story bar approximately 70’-0” wide – large P.A. spaces are partial projections on one or both sides of the corridor,
  • The available sites for new school buildings are often small but usually 100’-0” deep,
  • Overcrowded conditions and limited financial resources call for more efficient ways to design and build school structures

This is an attempt to enhance and simplify the entire process of school design and construction utilizing the following methods and elements:

  • Extracting optimal structural and architectural elements required for construction of enclosed four to five story building volume suitable for any size school functions,
  • Exterior columns are “U” shaped full floor high elements used also as dedicated duct shafts,
  • Interior columns are “O” shaped elements, actually section of a corridor at every second floor (corridor walls, floor and ceiling),
  • Short span beams are full floor high horizontal “H” section connecting exterior and interior column elements,
  • Long span beams are just the different configuration of two short beams and a corridor element spanning the space between the exterior columns,
  • Spandrel beams – 7’-0” high façade elements – are connecting exterior columns,
  • Additional flat slab elements are required to fill the floor and roof areas, windows are going to fill the space between the spandrel beams,
  • The basic constructed structure is an enclosed volume with all controlled factory made exterior elements,
  • It is a hollow structure with classroom modular floors, continuous non-divided floors and single or double height column less long span floors,
  • The basic design of the school building will be simplified using just no more than ten predefined elements – structural design is reduced to foundation only,
  • The design of the mechanical systems is also simplified with defined shaft/chase locations
  • The rest of the design is just the interior; stairs and elevators shafts will be defined based on the individual design solutions; interior partitions can be at any position,

The elements can be used for bellow and above the ground construction, the price of the elements and the construction should be greatly reduced

Slobodan Bekvalac