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November 4, 2021
Santa Monica High School Discovery Building awarded Green California Schools Facilities Leadership Award
HED is very pleased to share that the Santa Monica High School Discovery Building was been awarded the Green California Schools Facilities Leadership Award for innovation in educational building design and application of sustainable and open building design principles!
The Discovery Building is a 100-year building designed according to Open Building principals, minimizing the impact of its carbon footprint by building in flexibility and adaptability to facilitate change. Redefining traditional classrooms and taking full advantage of the California climate, courtyards, bleacher stairs, balconies and terraces will provide alternative teaching, dining and gathering spaces. Outdoor classrooms, including a rooftop hydroponic garden and science classroom, connect students with the natural world, supporting experiential, hands-on learning. This is the first open-building-concept educational structure in the United States.

Open building, in its simplest definition, means flexible. Rather than halls of static classrooms, the multi-level structure has spaces that can be easily modified to suit its users. This approach means a structure can be adapted to changing needs over time, increasing its sustainability. HED, in collaboration with Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners, designed the dramatic new academic complex that is helping to transform Santa Monica High School’s (SAMOHI’s) North Campus. Benefitting both school and the surrounding community, the complex is elevating educational, cultural and recreational pursuits; improving campus access and circulation; and supporting whole child development and diverse learning styles. The six level, energy-efficient building features rooftop class space, 36 classrooms, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a full-service kitchen serving Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s schools, an indoor and outdoor cafeteria, underground parking and multipurpose rooms. Career tech space in the building is planned to support the school’s Project Lead the Way, a four-year engineering program.

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