Davis Senior High School STEM, West Valley School of Professional Studies honored for design excellence
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Central Valley recently honored LPA with two awards in its 2021 Design Awards program. LPA’s design of the Davis Senior High School STEM building was honored with a Merit Award, while the renovation of the West Valley School of Professional Studies building was honored with a Divine Detail Award.
AIA Central Valley’s program recognizes the value of exceptional design and celebrates the outstanding work of AIA architects working in the Central Valley Area. LPA has received an award from AIA-CV every year since 2004, when the program started.
“We are honored to take home two awards honoring our education work from AIA Central Valley,” says LPA design director Helen Pierce. “Both of these projects had very specific goals, and we worked closely with students, teachers and the schools to bring their visions to life.”
As the new ‘front door’ for Davis High School, the STEM building stands out visually as well as experientially. The unique folded roof and facade act as a strong identifier for the building. It also influences and shapes the landscaping, which provides a variety of exterior spaces for students to learn, relax and collaborate. This complements the flexible interior spaces, which allow students to use familiar areas in new and flexible ways that support collaboration, team teaching and project-based learning.
The health, wellness, and comfort of students were at the core of the design process. Daylighting, thermal comfort, indoor air quality and a connection to nature drove many design decisions. Operable partitions, display space and movable furniture lets students redesign the interior spaces to fit their needs. The building puts water and energy saving strategies on display.
The one-story 27,400-square-foot West Valley School of Professional Studies, originally built in 1971, was dated, dark, opaque and inflexible. A LEED Gold renovation of the building, reflecting the rebranding of the Professional Studies program, created a technology-rich, light-filled learning environment and welcoming presence on the campus.
To transform the interior, abundant light and views to nature were introduced through new full-height glass walls at the perimeter and new skylights on the roof. Interior glazing between learning spaces, circulation and shared social spaces allows light and views to permeate deep into the building. The major exterior interventions consisted of a new entry canopy and strategically placed full height glazing at administration offices, learning spaces and shared social spaces. The project reduced energy use by 91%, exceeding the AIA 2030 Challenge benchmark of 70%.