This pre-K through 5th grade dual language immersion public school in Santa Monica has grown since its founding in 1985. In the unique dual immersion program children learn to understand, speak, read and write in both English and Spanish. In 2008 the district decided to completely reconfigure the school through a phased construction schedule. The new two story K-5 building along Virginia Avenue will be built first enabling most of the existing buildings to remain in operation throughout the school year.
The project consists of a new 27 classrooms for kindergarten through fifth grade. The school is organized around a series of small and large courtyards that can be used as teaching spaces, for community gatherings, school performances, and snack time. The academic courtyard is the largest of these open spaces and is flanked by two levels of classrooms connected by a series of bridges and landscaped platforms. The main entry is located between the administration building and the library.
The new school acts as a global citizen to enhance and restore the ecology and the natural environment of the region. Through the sensitive design, we have reclaimed over 5 acres formerly completely covered with pavement and buildings. The site is planted with more fields, gardens, courtyards, and green roofs. Large glazing systems on a minimum of two surfaces permit natural daylight to offset artificial lighting and reduce internal electrical loads. Air from the courtyard will be pulled through the classrooms via operable windows and discharged to the outside as it heats up and moves through solar chimneys that link both levels of the two story building. During the day classrooms are naturally ventilated for cross breeze through spaces to reduce the operating hours of mechanical systems.