Central Los Angeles Public High School for the Visual and Performing Arts

Program and Site
The Central Los Angeles Public High School for the Visual and Performing Arts of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is part of phase II of LAUSD's rigorous state bond funded plan to have 155 new schools built in its district by 2012. It is located on a 9.8 acre site on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The school will be a comprehensive High School and in addition will offer courses in the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music and Dance. Due to its central location on Grand Avenue the High School will be a part of the cultural facilities along the Grand Avenue cultural corridor, joining the Disney Concert Hall, Music Center, Colburn School of Music, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels. To fulfill its mandate to be a public facility in keeping with the spirit of the other facilities on Grand Avenue the school campus will include a professional performing arts theater for just below 1,000 visitors, a venue, which so far has been missing in the spectrum of performance facilities downtown Los Angeles. The school will house approximately 1,800 students organized in four academies, one for each discipline in the Arts. Accordingly, the campus is comprised of seven buildings, the theater building, four classroom buildings, the library and the cafeteria.
Photograpy (c) Roland Halbe
Architectural Signs - Chess Concept
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU's design concept is to use architectural signs as symbols to communicate the commitment of the Los Angeles community to Art. Inside the tower, an event, conference and exhibition space with a view across the city is planned to be located. The theater complex is placed at the corner of Grand Avenue and the 101 Freeway. The tower connects the school visually and formally with downtown Los Angeles, and together with the Cathedral's tower the twin towers will become a new landmark for the city. In addition to the tower a representational Lobby on Grand Avenue serves as the public entrance and integrates the school with the Grand Avenue corridor. The four classroom buildings form the orthogonal perimeter of the school's interior courtyards. The functional box beam buildings house one academy each as well as other shared educational and administrative spaces. Each building is organized with a central corridor which doubles as an exhibition gallery, generous open public stairways with lookout points to the exterior and expressive entrances, which serve as transition spaces between the exterior and interior. Each academy building houses its general classrooms, art studios, workrooms and satellite administration spaces.

Along Grand Avenue and at strategic viewpoints around the site large round windows are placed to create a distinct and lively exterior and to allow passers by a glimpse of the activities within the school. Likewise, students inside the buildings will have visual contact with the city with constantly changing perspectives and frames. In addition to the public entrance on Grand Avenue the seven buildings frame a second representational entrance, the main school entrance, located at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street and facing the community. The main school entrance is formally expressed through an 80' wide grand open stair, which leads directly into the main school courtyard with the conical library in its center and theater and tower in the background. The main entrance symbolically sets the stage for the students to experience this school as a decisive stage in their life and education.

To provide opportunities for public spaces within a high school through the architecture and supported by the performing arts program is one of the main contributions of this project to education and the community, and unique in contemporary public school buildings in Los Angeles.

Type: Educational - School
Location: 450 N. Grand Ave
                   Los Angeles, California, 90071
                   United States
Building status: built in 2008
A project by: Coop Himmelb(l)au
                         Architecture, Interior

Photo Gallery of Central Los Angeles Public High School for the Visual and Performing Arts
Photograpy (c) Roland Halbe

Photograpy (c) Roland Halbe

Photograpy (c) Roland Halbe

Photograpy (c)
Warren Aerial Photography, Inc.; Courtesy: PCL Construction Leaders
Source: http://www.architizer.com

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