A new academic complex redefines “flexible.”
HED, in collaboration with MRY, recently designed a dramatic new academic complex that is set to transform Santa Monica High School’s (SAMOHI’s) North Campus. Benefitting both school and the surrounding community, the complex will elevate educational, cultural and recreational pursuits; improve campus access and circulation; and support whole child development and diverse learning styles.
From arts and athletic facilities to larger, light-filled classrooms, enhanced support spaces to reorganized outdoor spaces, the five-story, 280,000 square foot complex will foster social interactions and strengthen the sense of community on SAMOHI’s campus.
Wrapped around an open entry courtyard, this innovative structure is designed as an “open building,” with a flexible, open-column grid, raised floor and non-load bearing walls which can be reconfigured over time. Sustainable as well as flexible, the new complex will feature displacement ventilation, photovoltaic and solar thermal arrays and a two-story living green wall.
Redefining traditional classrooms and taking full advantage of the California climate, large shade trees and landscape rooms will also serve as 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.
Interior classrooms will be organized around common spaces, building on this sense of belonging, identity and interconnectivity. Supporting diverse teaching and learning styles in the present, the classrooms easily adapt to evolving pedagogical approaches and uses, thanks to the structure’s flexible, innovative open building concept and operable glass walls.
Additional features include a publicly accessible 50-meter pool, a central kitchen and dining facility, medically fragile suite and labs and parking. A makers space and career tech labs will support SAMOHI’s “Project Lead the Way” program.
Replacing the existing science and technology buildings, the new complex will join the recently completed Innovation Building in transforming the SAMOHI campus, serving the school community and surrounding region—flexibly and sustainably—for years to come.