The MAD Building is located in The Grange School. The project came out of an initiative to promote the arts and encourage creativity and innovation within the learning process. Its name is an acronym for Music, Art, and Drama, the three branches of the school’s Arts Program that the building would house.
The site is a 21 x 21m square located in the centre of the campus facing two existing neo-classical style buildings which are emblematic of the school: the Assembly Hall and the John Jackson Building. While these classic structures are firmly anchored to the ground and their perimeters clearly define their borders, the MAD Building is a suspended body that allows exterior spaces to flow into it and penetrate it, generating a new community space for the school.
The layout is separated into two levels: an underground floor with two multi-purpose rooms (for music and theatre) and a second level with three rooms for the Visual Arts Department. This layout liberates up the first level, transforming it into a common space protected from the elements that connect the various patios and walkways that surround the building. It dimensions—4.5 m high with a 21 x 21m surface area—allow it to be used for such diverse purposes as a play space, exhibition space for students’ work and outdoor lectures.
The open area houses five large reinforced concrete columns of varying shapes and sizes that hold up the upper level. Each column contains a vertical void that spatially and visually connects the three levels of the project: small light wells that also serve to illuminate and ventilate the underground floor.
The second level is characterized by an irregularly shaped roof, which functions as a self-supporting cover that eliminates the need for additional supports. The concave interior space generated by the roof makes this open-plan floor a qualified space, being free, but not neutral.
Text from Max Nuñez