A School for Colombo by Brandon Raettig + Youssef Shabo

One of the drivers of our project was the idea of public ownership and how civic architecture in the twenty-first century must be able to respond and adapt. With climate change becoming a more pressing issue every year, the city of Colombo and its suburbs must brace itself for far more flooding. The norm in civic architecture today is to place public spaces at the ground level; however, when floods occur, these spaces arguably no longer exist. Due to our proximity to the canal, the problems are only multiplied.

With the insertion of our school, we strive to create a space that maintains the possibilities of public ownership. Our bowl condition acts as a dam to preserve safe spaces within and above. In the worst conditions, the public may arrive at our school by either boat or floating debris, where they can find temporary refuge in the form of fresh water, food, and shelter. When flood waters recede and the ground plane become habitable, the edge condition where the perimeter walls meet the ground becomes activated with our farmers market in an effort to make the school feel welcoming to the street and community at all times.

Fall 2020 Design Excellence Winners

Brandon Raettig + Youssef Shabo
Advanced Studio
Instructor: David Heymann