HED and Moore Ruble Yudell's new Santa Monica High School Discovery Building is currently under construction. Working with contractor McCarthy, the project is designed to embrace Open Building principles for a better K12 education experience. Made to prepare students for a dynamic future amongst social, cultural and pedagogical change, the 1,200-student facility supports different modes of learning for Santa Monica High School - locally known as Samohi.
As the design team states, "today’s approach to K-12 innovation is all about flexibility and change. School architecture is driven by pedagogy, which is itself profoundly affected by the fluid development of information and classroom technologies. Learning, subject to this type of wide-ranging evolution, calls for the architecture itself to be less about a building and more an operable, adaptable platform." Open Building seeks to enhance longevity and resilience through a set of basic principles that impact design, as well as how buildings are delivered and managed over time.
“For Samohi we are re-thinking the learning environment through an Open Building approach.” explains HED’s John Dale, FAIA. Samohi is in transition in terms of pedagogy from classroom-only accommodation to a spectrum of defined classrooms and labs complemented by multi-functional ‘commons’ areas. The five level Discovery Building has relatively deep floor plates that allow the clustering of spaces and activities in a greater variety of sizes and formats for different modes of learning.
A variety of elements in the Discovery Building accommodates ongoing change: a prefabricated steel moment-frame structural system enables a variety of floor plans without shear walls, electrical and communication systems combine with air distribution under an accessible raised floor, freeing ceilings from rigid service requirements, interior walls are potentially demountable and lend themselves to reconfiguration, fenestration is evenly distributed with a central courtyard bringing natural light into the interior of the large block.
Find out more about the Discovery Building.