Saturday, March 8, 2008

Beautiful Security


So this is not exactly a post pertaining to enriching you life in a small space. It is about a truly unique architectural security screen surrounding a school near my home — Martin Luther King Accelerated Learning Academy.

Sure this school has a fancy name for a Pittsburgh Public School, but I always thought it was a kind of bland looking building. More than bland, it almost looked like a military bunker or something. The building is dull concrete grey and brown brick. I’m not sure exactly when it was built, but it has strange sloping walls leading up to a flat area around the entire perimeter of the school. The whole thing was really unappealing, plain and hard. Not at all welcoming. I guess I should say that skateboarders love it, but I don’t think the feeling was mutual for me.

This past year Renaissance 3 Architects along with Technique Architectural Products installed security screens. The screens that — get this — were intended to “provide an appearance this is adequate for the school’s environment and block non affiliates from entering the property during non school hours”. Translation: look pretty and get rid of skate punks.

So I have to admit that in the daylight hours the screens look like more grey. They are made of galvanized steel panels. The panels upon closer inspection are pretty pleasant looking with patterns and shooting stars. In the night though, they really shine. A strip of color-shifting LED’s illuminate each of the panels. The color patterns are constantly changing. Each whole screen is sequenced so the colors change and flow around the entire building.

On a night like tonight with snow in the air it’s beautiful. And I wanted to share it with all of you.