Oak Grove High School Student Center

San Jose, California

Oak Grove High School had a challenge. The site was showing its age with an outdated approach to useful outdoor space and an excessive amount of paved, impermeable area. The saving grace was the gift of existing mature shade trees. Programmatically, the students were segregating themselves into distinct areas of the campus throughout the day: between classes, at lunch and before & after school. At the same time, the campus organization was unclear. The lack of a sense of arrival, the main quad, and odd, aging architectural shade structures created underutilized outdoor spaces and a lack of intuitive campus wayfinding. The design focused on reintegrating students, creating synergy from the building modernization, and bringing new life to the existing Learning Resource Center as a central amenity for the campus. The school sought to transform the campus gateway, reducing the amount of impermeable hardscape and reinterpret the heart of the campus.

Newly developed monument signage and drop off sequence, including an arrival courtyard, learning patios, and a focused quad play off the improvements to the architecture and create distinct pathways defined by the reimagined and rehabilitated structure of the former architectural shade structures. With the existing mature trees, the shade structure was unnecessary, and cluttered the site. To add insult to injury they would have cost more to completely remove, so they were reimagined as a campus folly that coupled with new planting, contribute to reduced pavement and define a new space for student social interaction.

The renovated buildings along with programmed and sequenced exterior spaces all achieve the goal of social activation and integration. The new site developments focused on water-wise plantings and built-in seating, signaling a new attitude for campus and the sites role as an amenity for the students to interact, collaborate, study and simply hang-out.

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