LPA-Designed TIDE Academy Earns Top School Design Honor

Three-story Silicon Valley high school supports new ways of teaching STEAM, helping students to explore the ‘known and unknown’

IRVINE, CALIF. – Feb. 28, 2022 –
The American Institute of Architects California (AIA CA) and the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) honored LPA’s design of the TIDE Academy, a Menlo Park public high school focused on new ways of teaching STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), with an Award of Excellence at CASH’s 43rd Annual Conference, Feb. 25., in Sacramento.

TIDE earned the top honor in the New Built category at the annual awards event, which recognizes the top achievement in California school design. Located on a two-acre site in a rapidly changing industrial area, the TIDE campus promotes student choice, critical thinking and inquiry-based learning, as well as the interdisciplinary instruction necessary to support STEAM curriculums.

“Unanimously selected by jurors for an Award of Excellence, the TIDE Academy is an example of cutting-edge school design located in the heart of the Silicon Valley and its forward-looking ethos," jurors said. “This is an example of the successful design and execution of a school that supports the learning needs of present and future students. It is a beautiful school. Bravo!”

With the addition of the Award of Excellence for TIDE, LPA’s K-12 team has earned 43 CASH awards — more than any other firm. Over the past three decades, the K-12 practice has master planned and designed projects for more than 100 districts, focusing on a collaborative, research-driven approach to school design.

TIDE — the acronym stands for technology, innovation, design and engineering — was developed through extensive engagement with the teachers, students and the community. LPA designers worked with educators to develop a learner profile for the school and explore how to better support career learning and foster connections with local institutions.

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“It was a pleasure collaborating with teachers, students and the community to develop a school that supports TIDE’s approach for teaching STEAM,” said Helen Pierce, design director at LPA. “The spaces will help students use their creativity to explore the known and unknown.”

TIDE’s learning environments challenge the traditional ways of teaching science, engineering and math. Learning environments support project-based learning, different forms of collaboration and team teaching. Every classroom has access to outdoor space through roll-up garage-style doors. “Think tanks” and huddle spaces are associated with every learning studio. Designated labs focus on science, coding, design, arts and physics. Spaces are designed to facilitate three different types of learning: collaboration, contemplation and concentration.

“We really looked for new ways to use the space,” says Kate Mraw, LPA’s director of K-12. “Our goal was to support the programming and the way that they were going to teach.”

Earlier this year, Mraw was elevated to LPA’s director of K-12 after years working with districts around the country to better integrate behavioral science and sustainability with educators’ goals and helping develop a collaborative design process centered on supporting the whole student. As part of LPA’s K-12 team, she has helped develop a wide range of innovative, efficient campuses, including the e3 Civic High School in downtown San Diego, the first high school in the country co-located in a public library; and the historic preservation and renovation of Lanier High School in San Antonio, Texas.

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In addition to the TIDE Academy, LPA recently completed work on the elementary and middle school campuses for Agnews, a pre-K-12 campus on a historic 55-acre site in San Jose, one of the largest projects of its kind in the state. In 2021, LPA earned awards of honor from CASH in the New Built category for Corona-Norco Unified School District’s Eastvale STEM Academy (eSTEM), a three-story campus designed to prepare students for work in the real world, in Eastvale, California, and for the Encinitas Union School District facilities master plan in Encinitas, California.

Last year, for the second year in a row, LPA was recognized with the industry’s highest national award for educational facility design, an award of excellence from the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE), for the Environmental Nature Center Preschool – a LEED Platinum, net-zero facility in Newport Beach, California. In 2020, LPA was honored with the CAE national award for the campus expansion of Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School, an independent K-12 school in Irvine, California, focused on a student-centric curriculum.

About LPA

Founded in 1965, LPA specializes in creating innovative environments that work better, do more with less and change people’s lives. An integrated national design firm with six studios in California and Texas, LPA’s team includes more than 400 in-house architects, master planners, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and research analysts, working across a wide array of sectors. In 2021, LPA earned AIA California’s Firm Award, the organization’s highest annual honor for an architectural firm. For more information, visit lpadesignstudios.com.