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Discovery Building, Santa Monica High School
Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica High School Discovery Building
Outside the lines.
A new academic complex redefines “flexible.”
Shapeshifter.
HED, in collaboration with Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners, designed a dramatic new academic complex that transforms Santa Monica High School’s (SAMOHI’s) North Campus. Benefitting both school and the surrounding community, the complex elevates educational, cultural and recreational pursuits; improves campus access and circulation; and supports 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 fosters social interactions and strengthens 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 features 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 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 are 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 maker space and career tech labs support SAMOHI’s “Project Lead the Way” program.

Replacing the existing science and technology buildings, the new complex joins the recently completed Innovation Building in transforming the SAMOHI campus, serving the school community and surrounding region—flexibly and sustainably—for years to come.
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Results
The Santa Monica High School Discovery Building has been recognized as a 2022 recipient of the Westside Urban Forum Design Awards.
The Santa Monica High School Discovery Building has been recognized as the winner of ENR California Best Projects 2022: Best K-12 Education.
The Santa Monica High School Discovery Building has been recognized as a 2022 recipient of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Southern California Chapter: Project Achievement Award.
The new Discovery Building will propel Santa Monica High School into a new experience of learning. We look forward to how the building will help us realize our current vision for learning and adapt to future learning.”
Carey Upton
Chief Operations Officer
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
Project Data
Discovery Building 2017-02309-000
Santa Monica High School
Santa Monica, CA
PROJECT SCOPE
New Construction
HED ROLE
Design Architect, Mechanical/ Plumbing Engineering, Electrical Engineering
RSF/GSF
260,000
CONSTRUCTION COST
$114.0 Million
SUSTAINABILITY LEVEL
    LEED Certified Equivalent
Project Team
  • Duane Fisher
    AIA, LEED AP BD+C
    Associate
    Architecture
  • Rafael Noriega
    LEED AP
    Associate
    Electrical Design
  • Freddie Angelito
    Electrical Design
  • Sean Bani
    PE, LEED AP
    Principal
    Electrical Engineering Leader
  • John Dale
    FAIA, LEED AP
    Principal
    Market Sector Leadership
  • Patricia (Patsy) Shigetomi
    AIA, IIDA, LEED AP
    Principal
    Market Sector Leadership
A new academic complex redefines “flexible.”
Discovery Building, Santa Monica High School
Santa Monica, CA
PROJECT DATA
PROJECT TEAM
Outside the lines.