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Taipei American School Builds Tech Cube for STEAM

By Kristen Lowman
Taipei American School Builds Tech Cube for STEAM

On March 2, 2017, Taipei American School officially broke ground for the construction of its newest facility, the Tech Cube. Board members, administrators, major donors, faculty, staff, students, parents, and members of the wider community joined together in marking this celebratory occasion.
The Tech Cube will be a five-story, open-planned facility on campus dedicated to STEAM education with a focus on design, technology, and robotics. The Tech Cube will have dedicated floors for each division, allowing for collaboration, continuity, and teamwork without foregoing age-appropriate learning spaces.
TAS Board Chairperson and member of the TAS Tech Cube Task Force, Ms. Tina Koo, addressed the crowd, “One of the jobs of the Board is to look into the future. We are to never settle for what is, but to always concentrate on what could be… We are fortunate to have an administration with whom we can do just that and The Tech Cube is the result of this vision and type of work.”
Joining the stage with Ms. Koo were members of the Taipei American School Board of Directors; Head of School Dr. Sharon Hennessy; the lead donor; members of the TAS Task Force Committee; TAS administrators; and representatives from Parsons Brinkerhoff, KHL Architects, and I-Cheng Construction & Development Corporation.
The Tech Cube is inspired by a facility at MIT and contains 4,380 square meters of usable space where students and faculty can work side-by-side and engage in design-thinking challenges. The Tech Cube will allow students to work on exciting projects in designated spaces over the course of a class, semester, or school year. As Dr. Hennessy said in her remarks, “This facility is the next step for 21st-century education and will allow the school to serve as a center for STEAM-related professional development in Asia.”
The Tech Cube will serve a growing need at TAS for STEAM education. This year in the Upper School, over 42 percent of students elected to take additional robotics, scientific research, and computer science courses each year. In addition, students partake in competitive robotics clubs such as FRC, VEX, and ROV that compete in tournaments around the world. Lower and middle school students program simple machines, blend arts and science with the use of 3D printers, creatively engineer prosthetic hand prototypes, and undertake many other design-focused projects.
When the Tech Cube opens in December 2018, it will provide the canvas for 21st-century learning that will give TAS students the necessary skills and experiences they need to make a real difference in the world. Upper school students will learn in an electrical engineering lab and design in a fabrication hub. The middle school floor houses a VEX arena and robotic design lab, as well as vast open areas for art and innovation. The floor dedicated to lower school students is designed to include “tinker and maker” spaces as well as an amphitheater.
In addition to being visually stunning and strategically functional, the Tech Cube will be in line with Taipei American School’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The facility is planned to achieve the Bronze Level of Environmental Certification in Taiwan. This EEWH (Ecology, Energy, Waste Reduction, and Health) certification will recognize the Tech Cube as an environmentally compliant building.

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