In light of its diminishing budget, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) recently ran an open, two-phase competition inviting architects and designers to compose a 30,000 sq ft prototype academic building for a number of pilot schools. An estimate of $64m has been touted for a scheme of 4-5 new educational facilities.
Gonzalez Goodale Architects was one of three selected winners with other local practices Hodgetts+Fung and Swift Lee Office. Gonzalez Goodale’s design concept is simple; a range of highly flexible spaces which do not confine the educational experience to the interior. "There's a thesis here that students need a place that opens out to nature, to the sky, to the city; a place that supports expansive dreaming," says David L. Goodale, AIA, GGA design principal.
The practice’s concept is comprised of a two-storey and three-story scheme whose interiors can be easily adapted to form classrooms, labs, expanded team-project teaching spaces, libraries, labs, local district offices, and multi-purpose spaces. By employing the use of economical prefabricated components such as a curtain wall, lift system and rain-screen finish panels, the prototype system suggests that large savings can be made with repeat projects.
The modular shell structure features a distinguishing canted roof and glass curtain wall system which affords maximum daylighting into the expansive interior space. The school's garden area features permeable paving strips with no-mow grass-crete whilst the concealed rooftop solar collectors are twice as efficient as normal solar cells, helping increase the energy efficiency of the building.