Vistamar High School
This project is an adaptive-reuse of an LAX-adjacent warehouse building into a high school. A multi-phased project, this phase of construction provides classroom and interstitial learning spaces with the goal of creating high-quality, unique environments on an extremely tight budget. Our approach focuses on directing daylight into the warehouse envelope from above through a unique composition of skylights. This acts as a hub for a cluster of classrooms.
The existing big-box warehouse, like most of the typology, inherently lacks both daylight access and any sense of place or identity within. Both elements are critical for the building to function as a high-quality education and community environment.
Refusing to accept that a shoe-string budget should yield generic results, we created a unique, day-lit space with an unconventional use of material and fabrication techniques. We took inspiration from a great big tree canopy that hovers over creating a sense of shelter while filtering light from above.
Fabricated from plywood, the ceiling structure is an undulating form that hovers low over a collaboration area and then sweeps up to visually connect to the main circulation. The form was modeled in Rhinoceros and then we wrote a Grasshopper script (image below) to translate the geometry into cut profiles for CNC fabrication.
We built a scaled model to test both the form and to validate the cut profiles (image below).
The millwork shop ran the cutting equipment from our file (image below). Everything fit together perfectly on site.
The egg-crate cells direct light from simple skylights and lamps down into the spaces below. Each cell lights up a little bit differently based on how the light hits it forming a dynamic patchwork above. We picked a low face-grade plywood as the main material. It’s warm and has lots of character but costs little.