Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hoffman Elementary (threatened)

Hoffman Elementary model
Hoffman Elementary model, 2622 S. Prieur New Orleans, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
Hoffman Elementary is on the NCDC Agenda on Monday June 1, 2009. It was the first school designed by Charles Colbert, who later designed McDonogh 36 and the iconic Wheatley Elementary. The following description is from Idea: the Shaping force by Charles Colbert.

'Hoffman Elementary (1948), first referred to by the School Board as "that cowshed," was designed before the general use of air conditioning and responded to such educational concerns of the day as variable classroom sizes, direct access to outdoor instructional area, sun and breeze control devices, and the reduction of visible distractions. A scale model of a typical classroom was used to determine the precise distribution of natural light; while entire walls of operating doors and windows allowed the passage of evaporative breezes over the students' bodies. Classrooms were isolated from corridor activities by a barrier wall as air movement was directed upward by a sloping ceiling above. An inverted truss created a sun protective overhang on the air entry side, while on the opposite side of the classroom, the sun was refiected from the flat corridor roof to the inclined interior ceiling, for diffusion to work surfaces below. The use of the inverted truss resulted from two functional necessities, air movement and the distribution of daylight. A study model was used to determine the most effective angle for the overhead ceiling at New Orleans' particular latitude. The use of the inverted roof truss merely accommodated these dictating needs. The profile of the roof truss is exposed on the exterior of each building wing by colorful enamel panels. The dictates of light, sound, air movement and the elimination of unnecessary visual distractions actually shaped the cross section of the building. The building's exterior shape was merely the result of interior requirements.'

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