Edison High School Academic Building / Darden Architects

  • 03 Apr 2013
  • Educational Selected Works
© Paul Mullins

Architects: Darden Architects
Location: 540 East California Avenue, , CA 93706, USA
Architect Of Record: Robert L. Petithomme
Structural Engineer: Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers
Contractor: Turner Construction
Area: 43088.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Paul Mullins

Civil Engineering: Blair Church & Flynn Consulting Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: Lawrence Nye Anderson Associates
Electrical Engineers: Hardin-Davidson Engineering

© Paul Mullins

From the architect. Upon first stepping inside the new Edison High School Academic Building your eyes are drawn upward. The soaring windows and lofty ceiling are truly stirring in the abounding natural light. It is sure to be a spot which will exhilarate and inspire the students soon to walk the halls of this unique new construct.

Edison Technical High School was originally founded in 1906, just twenty-one years after Fresno California was incorporated as a city proper in 1885. The High School’s west Fresno neighborhood saw steady growth through the next 60 years. From its humble beginnings with just two buildings, the campus grew to include additional classroom wings, art and drama, on all sides the school expanded to support the thriving community.

© Paul Mullins

However, in 1972 the aging classroom building was demolished, triggering a great loss of identity for Edison High School. With the values and aspirations of the campus and community so intrinsically linked, after almost thirty years of decline, it became clear a defining change was necessary. Planning sessions were held to integrate the ideas and needs of administrators, staff, students, parents, and members of the community into one cohesive Campus Master Plan.

© Paul Mullins

The first new building to usher in this era of growth and pride for Edison High school is an iconic flagship for the changing campus. The dynamic new Academic Building holds cardinal value in the process of updating the architectural vernacular of the institution through all projected growth and modernizations yet to come. Additionally, it is through its completion, that the students, staff, and community have begun to recapture that lost Edison High School identity.

© Paul Mullins

Disposing of outdated portable classrooms to make way for leading-edge technical labs, classrooms, and learning spaces was of high priority:

-  As a magnet school for math and science it was important that the labs and standard classrooms matched and even exceeded technological standards, allowing for a project based learning environment potential, and future integration of state-of-the-art equipment. 
-  Art classrooms and a lecture hall/presentation space were needed, allowing students to foster their expression and communication skills, while also providing a space for staff training and even community meetings.
-  A unique special education classroom should provide a space tailored to hands-on teaching, and be supportive of integration with the larger student body.


Lead by and built by Turner Construction, the project has now come to completion. With $12.3m in combined funding (including an HPI incentive grant, PG&E savings by design grant, SFP Modernization & Growth, and ORG) and a bid amount of $11.8m, non-district funding sources more than paid for the project.

© Paul Mullins

The Academic building establishes on the campus, a memorable and dramatic visual identity. In keeping with its technical background, a binary code environmental graphic pattern is woven onto the sun screen used to shade the west-facing classrooms, and is taken inside the building at strategic locations. In support of school spirit the Edison “Tiger” yellow punctuates the building’s understated color scheme. With features like its abundant naturally illuminating clerestory windows, and spacious classrooms and hallways, this High-performance, sustainably-minded design will bring together the rich history and bright future of Edison High School.


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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Edison High School Academic Building / Darden Architects" 03 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=353695>
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  • Patriciq

    tolerance to the light & the openings in the slab causes very nice & sipmle effects:)

  • Ray k

    Would be more interesting if the electrical was also detailed in the article.

  • Rufus Cooley

    This just didn’t start it began from the inception of the school from the original Ivy buildings to our long standing both academically and athletically strong. NFL, MLB, DOCTORS, LAWERS, POLITICIANS, TEACHERS, SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PERSONS, AND MOST OF ALL GODLY PEOPLE and remembering who gave you all that you have, for HE loved you first.

  • Pastor George D. Baker Sr.

    hi sir, I am pastor George D. Baker Sr. of Tabernacle of Praise Ministry INC. in Liberia. we are having one acres of land and need to build a school for the church in Liberia. (West Africa) kindly help us