Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Major Professor

George Dodds

Committee Members

Edgar Stach, Mathias Altwicker


This thesis proposes that a school should be a community center that creates opportunities for public gathering. In that sense the school is designed as a neighborhood and city public space.

The site has both residential and commercial districts nearby. The neighborhoods surrounding the site are in a state of flux in which higher income residents have begun to move into the poorer areas. Furthermore, the residents, predominately African- American, are beginning to be joined by a substantial Hispanic and white population. Not only is the proposed school at the heart of this cultural, racial, and economic diversity within the nearby neighborhoods, but also it is bordered on one side by Market Street, a major path into and out of downtown Chattanooga. So the site provides the opportunity for the school to be a public place for the city as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition to spaces primarily associated with the children of the school, there are several programmed spaces intended for equal use by the community and the students. These include a market, restaurant, and cafeteria, arts center, theater, and office and residential space.

In addition to encouraging student interaction with the community (and vice versa), an existing (and historic) YMCA building and adjacent field east of the site will provide space for structured athletics.

Finally, the open space, defined by the buildings, can be used as a public park, casual play area, or space for community events (outdoor concerts, graduation, weddings, etc.). The school will serve five hundred students aged Kindergarten through twelth grade.

For the given site and the given circumstances, the conclusion of the design resulted from an influence of two design factors: one, connection to the community, and two, articulated open space. The final project utilized the varying degree of privacy of the four bordering streets to create a conceptual wall that defines the interior and exterior open spaces as outdoor rooms. At the same time, the permeability of the buildings, allow the interior public space to remain as public as possible. Also, the project uses two conceptual connectors, one a gridded street that extends in the east and west directions, and two a field that extends out of the open space of the interior to the neighborhood to the west.

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