We're a young public school, in our third year. The home of our middle school is a commercial building in West Berkeley that we have worked hard to renovate, redesign, and build into a wonderful environment for learning. This past year we opened up a second and third floor, which includes our Studio H classroom, a multi-purpose room, offices, and our future library. Because we're new, we're still working to make our school the best place it can be, and the X-Space project is part of that.
Of the $75,000 budget, $30,000 will go to books, $20,000 to the STAX shelves and all other fixtures, hardware, lighting, and interior elements, $15,000 will go to technology (computer stations, tablets), and $10,000 will go towards periodicals, software, e-books, online database subscriptions, and more.
When we set out to design the library space with 108 students in 4 class periods, we decided that a beautiful, versatile building block unit would allow us the most flexibility to create many things out of one. We love the analogy of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, and that X is the unknown in algebra. (a library is a place to "find the thing you don't know"). The x-shaped building block gave us a structurally sound unit, which was simple to produce, and easy to aggregate into vertical and horizontal structures. Our students also loved that when assembled, the shelves are at a 45-degree angle, rather than strictly horizontal, like most libraries. To sift through books at a 45-degree angle, we have to engage with the books in a different way and discover things we weren't even looking for. The convex and concave curvature on the front of the STAX alternate, creating a wavelength-like facade.
Heck yeah! Our 8th grade students are brilliant and surprise us every day. This project comes from them, their voice, their dreams. Studio H is a space that provides the tools for kids to build their most audacious ideas. Yes, we will pull this off and amaze us at every step.
Our very generous supporter and friend Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, has allowed us to use his CNC router at his shop, which is right down the street from our school. He and his shopmate, Betz Sweeney, have donated their time, tools, sweat, and brain cells to make hundreds of STAX.