High School #9 in Los Angeles heads towards completion
Coop Himmelb(l)au’s High School #9, a flagship high school emphasizing visual and performing arts, is located just outside Downtown Los Angeles’s cultural corridor that includes Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. Designed for Los Angeles Unified School District, High School #9 includes four academies for education in music, dance, theater arts and visual arts, and a 1,000-seat theater that will be open to the public.
The design involves a tower conceived as a unique and highly visible sculptural landmark, which provides a point of identification for the students, a symbol for the arts in the city and a sign for the positive development of the arts, education and our society. The tower also relates to the immediate context of downtown Los Angeles and the other cultural institutions within. A spiral in form of a 9 revolves around the tower as an expression of the dynamic development of our society.
The theater with full stage, back stage and fly loft will allow the students to learn all technical aspects of operating on a professional stage and will be open to the public for student or professional performances. A theater lobby of glass and metal forms the public entrance to the theater, symbolically emphasizing the openness of the campus. A second entrance for day-to-day student use and the community is expressed through a grand staircase of urban scale and is oriented towards the community.
The library is deliberately placed in the center of the school courtyard and rises as a truncated, asymmetrical cone with an oculus towards the sky. Through its central location and dynamic but centralized form this ‘Space of Knowledge’ collects and enhances the energies which revolve in and around it and reminds us that the focus of education is to enrich the knowledge of our present and future society in search for new solutions.