Aragon Avenue Elementary School Expansion
Los Angeles, CA / Completed 2006
Fixing our Schools: This addition to an existing elementary school in an underprivileged neighborhood in Los Angeles reflects the school district’s commitment to raise the quality of schools throughout the city. Composed of three different structures, the largest is a, 32,800 square foot structure that contains 16 new air-conditioned classrooms and underground parking. Two smaller structures provide a new kitchen and a lunch shelter.
Coherent Campus Plan: The siting of the new structures creates a coherent campus plan. Adding a wing to the existing L-shaped structure, the new classroom bar completes the street edge and defines a large, central courtyard. The new kitchen and lunch shelter breaks down this courtyard into a series of smaller spaces. New outdoor bleachers and stairs accommodate the downward progression to the lower play area.
Circulation Loop: A new circulation loop further ties the campus together. It begins in the school’s main building, continues through the main entry and the hallways of the new building, and ends at a three-story sculptural stair that leads to the lower playground.
Big Door: One of the defining features of the new classroom building is a tall entry portal that aligns with a slot of space that defines the main approach to the building. On one side is a sculptural volume containing two kindergartens; on the other is a two-story bar that houses fourteen classrooms for the upper grades. The portal also contains a stair whose landing presents students with a framed view of their surrounding neighborhood.
Joy: The painting pattern takes its cues from the colorful houses in the surrounding neighborhood and acknowledges (without condoning) the popularity of tagging and graffiti. Providing a unique and unexpected element for the school's students, its cheerful presence is also appreciated by the neighborhood’s residents.
- Principals-in-Charge: Alice Kimm, John Friedman
Project Architect: Leigh Christy
Project Team: Elif Tinaztepe, Bianca Siegl
Project Assistant: Dan Brunn
Structural Engineer: William Koh and Associates, Inc.
Mechanical and Plumbing Engineer: Han Engineering, Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Pacific Engineers Group
Civil Engineer: JMC-2
Landscape Architect: Mia Lehrer + Associates
General Contractor: George C. Hopkins Construction Co.
- Los Angeles Unified School District
- 2009 January, Architectural Record Supplement, “Schools of the 21st Century” by David Sokol
- 2008 1000x Architecture of the Americas (Braun)
- 2007 Guarderias, Jardines de Infancios y Colegios (Instituto Monsa de Ediciones)
- 2006 September, Architecture, “Lessons Learned: Paint by Numbers” by Alice Kimm