Piedmont Hills High School Science and Life Skills Complex

San Jose, California

Located on the south end of campus, the design of the science complex for Piedmont Hills High School develops a new landmark on campus, drawing students form the main parking area through the sloped site and into the campus heart. The new complex serves as both a connection and a new gathering space of its own leading students to develop new methods of learning and exploration through science.

Taking advantage of the steeply sloped site, the three main building masses sink into the landscape creating a carved interior courtyard. Each of the one-story classroom spaces, lined with glazed overhead doors, draw students from the classrooms and labs to learn in a more flexible environment for diverse learning preferences. Students can embrace outdoor learning on the terraced central landscaping lined with curved benches.

Orientation and building form drive the sustainable strategies of the Piedmont Hills High School new science complex. The orientation to the building masses develops a protected courtyard from harsh wind and direct sunlight while allowing northern light to flood the interior spaces. Draining along the sloped roofs of each building, rainwater is collected and funneled onto the strategically placed native landscaping creating a natural cycle.

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