Martin Ronaszegi

Martin Ronaszegi

Bluffton, SC, US


SCAD Clark Hall

The Clark Hall sheds (AIA Merit Award winner, 2020) renovation project transformed a 166-year-old building from the historic Central of Georgia Railroad complex ­— already modified and being used by the SCAD School of Building Arts — into a modern, energy efficient, functional learning environment for students. After saving the main building, now known as Clark Hall, and the rear-abutting sheds in 1988 and putting them to academic use, SCAD began this recent two-year, $16 million renovation of the sheds, a demonstration of the commitment to sustainable design.

In Fall 2018, the project began with the question: “What do the students need?” To determine the answer, SCAD architecture graduate students conducted a survey and study of faculty and staff. Project leaders studied similar structures with common design features around the world until a plan was set to meet the need with beauty and intention.

The three-fold effort called for increased capacity and functionality of the Clark Hall sheds, a more pleasing and conducive learning environment for students, and a significant increase in building efficiency. Before the renovation, the open space was noisy with multiple voices from simultaneous classes and students studying independently. Additionally, the building was often too hot or cold, the roof leaked, and it was not energy efficient.

The programming requirements included 12 design studio classrooms, two computer labs, a materials library, maker space (housing laser cutters and 3D printers), a model shop, outdoor assembly space, and miscellaneous rooms required by code (restrooms, etc.).

The solution to create multiple enclosed rooms under the large roof of the open space was approved. These sound-insulated rooms are bright and airy with clean, modern design. Most have a glass wall and furnishings reflective of the professional office space environment the students will work in after graduation.

As in all SCAD historic renovation projects, sustainability is a cornerstone of the project. Holes in the brick walls were patched as needed, the roof was insulated, a modern HVAC system was installed, solar panels were added, LED lighting and water-conserving plumbing fixtures were added, and many elements of flooring and wallcoverings are made from recycled materials. The results of these updates are a 40% reduction in energy use, 18% of the building’s energy coming from the solar panels, and a more comfortable and pleasant environment for students in a professional setting.

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Status: Built
Location: Savannah, GA, US
My Role: Architectural Designer & Project Manager
Additional Credits: Tony Hensley - Director of Construction
Julia Vargo - Interior Designer