Advanced Studio, Spring 2011: Koster

  • Work by Erin Dorr for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
    Work by Erin Dorr for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Benjamin Stephenson for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
    Work by Benjamin Stephenson for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Erin Dorr for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
    Work by Erin Dorr for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Benjamin Stephenson for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
    Work by Benjamin Stephenson for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Xiaofei Ren for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
    Work by Xiaofei Ren for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Amber Organtini for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.
    Work by Amber Organtini for advanced studio taught by Don Koster, Spring 2011.

Advanced Studio, Spring 2011
Community Design Studio: A School for Sustainable Living

Don Koster, Senior Lecturer

Like many urban school districts in the United States, the St. Louis Public School System (SLPS) has been mired in a state of dysfunction, with falling enrollment, poor student performance, and fiscal concerns that have prompted a loss of accreditation and a takeover by state regulators. As a result, SLPS has been encouraged to pursue alternative and experimental educational ideas and models, including privatization and the introduction of numerous charter schools and pilot programs, with varying degrees of success.

One model that has been inspiring educators, students, and families across the country is the concept of the "green" school, where student performance is improved by a healthier learning environment in which students study, recreate, and socialize in naturally ventilated and daylight spaces built of ecologically responsible materials. Operating costs for cash-strapped districts are reduced through energy efficiencies and power generation.

This comprehensive studio engages in a period of intense research to study both the historical and contemporary thinking on school design, and seeks the input of educators and administrators working in the field in order to understand the current conditions and formulate well-founded architectural positions. Students define and propose a new school for sustainable living that is comprehensive in nature; adheres to all codes and ordinances; is robust and cognizant of economies of means without sacrificing architectural quality; and is inspiring and accommodating of the needs of contemporary urban society while providing for future adaptation. The studio inherently proposes a school that is didactic in nature, a living, learning laboratory where students and teachers can expand their understanding of the environment, create an existential connection to the world, and promote ecological responsibility.