Benchmark School Innovation Lab
LOCATION / MEDIA, PA
PHASE / COMPLETED 2018
SIZE / 2,200 SF

For The Benchmark School—a private elementary school noted for tailoring its curriculum to the learning styles of its students—SHoP was asked to create an innovation laboratory as a small, freestanding addition to the existing building. Recognizing that the new structure itself could operate as a teaching tool, we designed it to embody and exhibit many of the processes and techniques that the students themselves discover in their experimentation with the 3D modeling and printing platforms arranged at workstations within the well-lit, open lab space. These include the spline-and-fold pattern of the sheet-metal panels on the facade, as well as a slatted wooden ceiling in a billowing form manufactured in-house at SHoP's Prototype Lab in Brooklyn. Each form reflects procedures and methods that are native to the same software/hardware pairs students are given access to in the new space. This connection between the forms of the building and the learning taking place inside is not something that will be readily apparent. But as students return to the space over time, as their comfort and capability with its tools develop, it is something that is waiting for each to discover.