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The Kirkham Childcare Center was designed as a permanent modular building that would not show its modular roots. The Center demonstrates a number of architectural features most commonly found in site-built construction but rarely applied to modular. Though seldom used, these features are not outside the scope of modular construction. The Childcare center is two stories, created of various size modules set on a CMU foundation. The building footprint is irregular, boasting a variety of pop-outs and balconies adding visual interest to the building and utility for the occupants. The exterior of the building is attractive, clad in lap siding painted in fun, modern colors completely appropriate to its San Francisco surroundings and its use as a day care. The interior is also brightly colored: classrooms have orange countertops and purple cove base in order to provide visual appeal to young children. Balconies offer occupants a chance to enjoy fresh air and great views of the city.
This building presented technical challenges due to the varied sizes of modules necessary to create the desired aesthetic by breaking up the vertical and horizontal planes to add visual interest. The floors sporting balconies and pop-outs are longer than the supporting structure beneath. It was necessary to design cantilevering for the balcony and pop-out locations. The second story of the Childcare Center building is larger than the first story; the site is very steeply cross-sloped. The second story is composed of thirteen modules while the first story is only five modules. Designing the building and foundation to work with these slope conditions was a real challenge, as was craning it into place.
This building exhibits several technologies that will prove cost effective for the end user over time. The Kirkham Childcare Center is a Title 24 compliant building, exceeding Title 24 by ten percent or more in some areas. The building is equipped with motion sensor lighting controls throughout, daylighting controls at the perimeter, floor-to-ceiling windows throughout to provide as much daylighting as possible, heat only (the building was designed to maximize air flow to avoid the need for air conditioning through the use of fan controls and operable windows), lockable programmable thermostats, upgraded insulation in ceilings, walls and floors, a white rubber roof meeting the exacting standards of the CA Cool Roofs Council, and all faucets at wash sinks and all lavatory flush valves are controlled by motion sensors to avoid wasted water. There are numerous other small items that combine to create a building that should see a substantial savings in operating costs.