CLIENT: LAUSD / Kemp Brothers
Architect of Record:
Gonzalez Goodale Architects
While scoring highest in design evaluation, this design/build competition proposal was not awarded due to the cost differential above the lowest bidder. The program required a reconstruction of much of the campus with two major classroom buildings, a performing arts center, and a gymnasium.
While little of architectural merit remains in the original Roosevelt High School campus, the school is remarkable for its socio-political, historical, and cultural impacts within eastern Los Angeles and the city as a whole.
Faced with a seismically-required demolition of the entire eastern half of the campus, (which will leave only the most unremarkable buildings in place), there could remain - in this proposal's approach - the main quadrangle, a rich and grand stand of existing trees, an historic water fountain and courtyard, the original stair and plinth to the first school building on the site, and the north/south axis through the campus that was the original school's frontage (Fickett Street). These elements were the contextual bones on which the new buildings were planned and an onging link between past, present, and future.
In addition to these contextual cues, the design sought to amend a central problem of the existing campus: While its richly landscaped interior truly conveys the sense of a genuine academic campus, the school's perimeter is barren and hostile. Critical to this design were two proposed new welcoming gateways to the campus from the north and south respectively - a major canopy / 'proscenium' at the theatre and classroom buildings to the north, and alongside the new gym to the south.
A third key in this design proposal was the leveraging of environmental connections and diverse territories in order to stimulate social interaction, at both large and small scale. Amending a currently circuitous campus layout, the linkage between buildings in the proposed design is direct and clear, with ground level portals directly through the center of buildings where connectivity is served.
Accessibility for this topographically dramatic site was addressed with gradual terraces and long, broad. walkways with gentle slopes in lieu of hand-railed ramps, (accounting in no small part for the projected costs of construction). This universal approach to accessibility not only sought inclusivity of experience, but also sought to preserve the bucolic nature of the existing site.