New Structure IYRS School of Technology & Trades

In coastal areas the demand for resiliency –living with water- is immediate. With sea levels rising, some coastal areas will become impractical or undesirable for further development. But there are many economically vibrant communities for which development is essential for continued growth. These communities need creative solutions to living with water.

The campus of IYRS School of Technology and Trades is sited within a working waterfront business district in downtown Newport and fronts historic Thames Street. This lively commercial wharf setting is also a particularly fragile coastal area that has seen severe flooding, most recently with Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The existing IYRS campus buildings – durable masonry structures dating from the 18th and 19th centuries – withstood the storm with little visible damage, though interiors and equipment areas did sustain flooding.

The New Structure for Composites and Systems Programs sits adjacent to these historic buildings on Spring Wharf (a FEMA VE flood zone), set back approximately 75 feet from water. The design for the New Structure embraces the substantial challenges of resiliency required of this setting.

The program for the building includes 20,000 SF of classroom and trade teaching areas for marine systems, composites, and digital fabrications on two upper floors. Much of the program in this new space will be technology-based, and related to the use of modern materials and components such as carbon fiber, composites and CAD fabricated assemblies. The teaching areas are located above an open parking level of 10,000 SF at grade, within the flood elevation.

Special consideration to the resiliency of building systems were given. Utility, equipment, and machine rooms are located above the flood elevation, as are elevator components vulnerable to flooding. At grade, columns are encased in concrete to resist wave action, and foundations are designed to resist erosion following a storm surge. Walls at grade are limited in area; other enclosures are designed as lightweight screens to partition storage and to conceal parking, and will breakaway in a severe flood event.

The New Structure is a model for resiliency in a fragile urban coastal setting, and will endure for generations as part of the IYRS campus.

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