Architect of Record:
Gonzalez Goodale Architects
The premiated outcome of a limited design/build competition staged by LAUSD, this school will sit across the street from the recent Legacy High School - both residing in a post-industrial neighborhood of Southgate where Tweedy Avenue extends to the LA River.
As the street and existing school were lacking in any meaningful definition of public space or campus, a first order of planning was to propose an arrival befitting a public school. Thus, what is currently an overly wide unmediated boulevard that dead-ends at the river will now become a treed and landscaped cul-de-sac that unites the two schools around a shared green space and, for efficiency, a shared roundabout|student drop-off.
In counterpoint to the existing high school across the street, whose physical weight is emphasized both by its limited south glazing and the use of concrete block as primary cladding material, the new middle school faces north to the arrival court with a fully glazed north wall, showcasing its library and classrooms to arriving visitors and students.
Integral to the program is a rich array of outdoor social spaces and teaching spaces. The intimate courtyard organization of the school maximizes these spaces. Additionally, at times of public festivals around the school's international themes, one leg of this courtyard (notably the lunch pavilion) is able to fully open its barriers to create open social events.
Sharing play space with an adjacent public/District park, the site and program are highly impacted. Every square foot of the property became meaningful in this sense, and the components of arrival, parking, circulation, academic function, recreation, landscape, storm water management, and social space all had to be tightly resolved into a tightly-woven urban solution.