02:30 PM - 03:30 PM
8 October 2024

Discovering Financial Benefits of Adaptability: A Case Study of the Discovery Building

Significant Projects

The landscape of public education is continuously evolving; however, many schools are built with fixed designs that meet current educational needs but do not allow for future building changes. Fixed designs that do not allow change can quickly become obsolete as teaching methods evolve. In contrast, the Santa Monica High School Discovery Building was designed to embrace the inevitability of change and allow for modifications and adaptations needed to suit unforeseeable shifts in academic delivery. The school was designed with an “open building” philosophy that included a steel moment frame structure and raised access floors. The moment frame structure eliminated the need for shear walls and braces that would have constrained floor plan options. The raised access floors provide a dedicated accessible space for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, thereby enabling relatively easy future changes. This presentation will highlight a financial analysis of the costs and benefits of the open design, fundamentally addressing the question: Was the premium paid for the open design justified by the option to modify the building in the future? Finally, lessons learned from the Discovery Building will be described in how they may apply to planning and civil infrastructure in general.

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