This is both a spatial and pedagogical reinvention of the traditional definition of ‘school’.
The buildings are planned as a campus around a series of interlinking courtyards, which are designed to be as important as the buildings themselves. These courtyards – or outdoor classrooms – are fluidly programmed to become play areas, meeting spaces, outdoor concert venues, lunch nooks, and conservatories. These functional courtyards also allow for the school to effectively double its area and use outdoor spaces despite the adverse weather often found on the West Coast.
Emphasis is placed on visible and collaborative learning, resulting in spatial layouts which link both visually and physically. Classrooms – or ‘hubs’ – are linked through glass partitions and sliding doors, allowing teaching spaces to easily be reconfigured to accommodate larger groups. Learning through ‘play’ is integral to the spaces and is emphasised by including blackboards and climbing walls along corridors, slides and play nets as part of staircases and mezzanine levels, and custom furniture to allow for movement. The school’s dance and music hall is placed in the heart of the school’s admin building so that students and teachers constantly interact and music and dance activity is experienced by teachers and visitors throughout the day.
Simple materiality is used in innovative ways to create unique yet understated architecture. Focus is given to filtering light (using custom-made decorative pergolas, brick brise soleils, curtains, and vegetation) so that spaces, layered in shadow, change throughout the course of the day and reconnect students to nature and the changing seasons.