JFAK was selected to transform a property in the City of South Gate into the future home of the Russell Westbrook Academy. Founded last year by Los Angeles native and LA Lakers basketball star Russell Westbrook, the Academy, currently housed at two separate leased facilities, is dedicated to improving access to educational and outdoor opportunities for the youth and greater community of South Los Angeles. The South Gate site is currently occupied by a 50,000 SF warehouse-turned-classroom-building used by East Los Angeles College (ELAC), a Carl’s Jr. restaurant, and parking. Owned and operated by LA Promise Fund (LAPF) and supported by the Russell Westbrook Foundation, the Academy comprises both a middle school and high school. From its new home in South Gate, the Academy will expand on the educational, career support, and outdoor community opportunities it offers to local students. JFAK has commenced master planning the site and will design facilities to host a variety of new programs including a community recreation center and gym, classrooms, daycare, parking, and food service. Also being integrated are outdoor education, recreation, and dining functions. The existing Carl’s Jr. is expected to be transformed and usable by the summer of this year. The 50,000 SF warehouse, renovated to contain 37 classrooms, will open to middle and high school students in Fall 2024. Working collaboratively with LAPF, Russell Westbrook Academy, and Owner’s Representative and Project Manager Primestor Development, JFAK will assist in realizing the remaining master plan components beyond that date.
Awarded through a design-build competition hosted by BuildLACCD, LACCD’s sustainable building program, JFAK designed the full modernization of an existing 1-story administration building on the L.A. Harbor College (LAHC) campus to serve as headquarters for the LAHC Job Placement and Data Center as well as a division of the Fire Department / Homeland Security and a WorkSource OneSource Center. The re-design of JPDC strengthens its connectivity to the campus by enhancing the visual impact of the building by creating fluid connections between interior and exterior spaces. A new clocktower featuring a changeable LED display enhances the building’s presence and transforms it into an iconic landmark for the entire campus. It also marks the main entrance to the building. A new photovoltaic trellis cantilevers out over the roof to mark the building’s second major entrance. The design fosters a welcoming and inviting environment for students, faculty, and staff and encourages interaction. A new photovoltaic skylight covers an existing roof opening, creating a new interior atrium space which is the focal point of this new and catalytic environment.
The new kindergarten classroom building at Wonderland Elementary School is a sculptural one-story building that is mostly curved in plan, presenting a soft edge towards the campus. The design builds upon the idea that “wonder” can be expressed in an architecture that is simple, sculptural, light-filled, colorful, and full of unexpected moments and spaces of discovery.
The program calls for two kindergarten classrooms, student restrooms, faculty restroom, electrical and utility room, covered walkway to provide protection from inclement weather, and storage rooms that are accessible from the exterior. Toplight, provided through skylights and solatubes, is a key component of the design. A covered walkway is integrated into the volume of the building to shelter users during rainy days. Each classroom has a special circular reading nook that is toplit and will form the basis of small-group teaching, independent reading, and other special activities. The building is designed to meet Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) sustainability measures.
Rinker Health Science Campus, located in Irvine, is a satellite campus of Chapman University devoted to graduate education and research on the human health-related challenges of our time. Currently housed in a segregated group of office buildings, Rinker Campus is poised for transformation into a unified and interconnected environment that advances wellness and sustainability. JFAK produced a conceptual masterplan that conjoins three major components of Rinker Campus – a new parking structure, an East Quad, and a West Quad. Added programs such as a new fitness center, new research building, and active landscapes merge to form an interconnected center that will recruit new talent, inspire students, and enhance the community-at-large.
JFAK is in the first phases of designing a complete renovation of UCSD’s Main Gym and Natatorium to update it for new contemporary fitness and athletics uses, as well as for a new generation of students and users. Originally completed in 1968, the buildings are excellent examples of mid-century modern architecture, and a portion of the buildings’ façade is historically protected. The project will include approximately 65,000 SF of renovation, restoration, and seismic retrofit, and an approximately 15,000 SF addition. The project will comprise a full seismic retrofit of both buildings. It is intended to be certified LEED Silver at minimum. We’re excited to be working with the UCSD community to breathe new life into this pair of iconic buildings.
The Iovine Young Center (IYC) is a progressive high school that will be located at the Audubon Middle School campus in the Leimert Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles. JFAK will work in collaboration with Iovine and Young Academy (IYA), the groundbreaking educational startup housed at USC and founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, as well as its partner Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). IYC’s programming will be modeled on that of IYA, which combines design and the arts; engineering and computer science; business and venture management; and communication. Music and digital production; exploration of AI; applied design research; and immersive, hands-on makerspace/lab work will be actively on display. Core high school subjects will form the spine of the IYC curriculum. JFAK is engaged in two parallel tasks: renovation of two existing buildings to provide 14 inaugural classrooms and support spaces which finished September 2022 (Phase 1), and a longer master planning, design, and construction pathway that will culminate in the realization of IYC’s new, permanent home (Phase 2).
This project involved the full renovation of an existing two-story charter school in the Huntington Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Academia Moderna’s mission is to create life-long learning for students, and inspire them to be inquisitive, passionate, engaged, and independent. The school desired a transformation of their existing warehouse home to cultivate a “school” feeling within the industrial envelope. The project was designed specifically to make a more usable, functional, and lively space that would serve the students in pursuit of Academia Moderna’s mission.
To bring natural light deep within the building, hallways and classrooms alike benefit from the addition of well-placed skylights, reducing energy usage and promoting well-being. Throughout the project, the creative and strategic application of color and graphics creates a truly joyful learning environment for the elementary school students within. Completed on a tight budget, the Academia Moderna Charter School is an example of inspiring placemaking.
The new kindergarten classroom building at Wonderland Elementary School is an approximately 4,169 SF, sculptural one-story mass that is mostly curved in plan to present a soft edge towards the campus as well as to the existing two-story classroom building to its south. The design builds upon the idea that “wonder” can be expressed in an architecture that is simple, sculptural, light-filled, colorful, and full of unexpected moments and spaces of discovery.
The program calls for two kindergarten classrooms, student restrooms, faculty restroom, electrical and utility room, covered walkway to provide protection from inclement weather, and storage rooms that are accessible from the exterior. Toplight, provided through skylights and solatubes, is a key component of the design. Each classroom has a special circular reading nook that is toplit and will form the basis of small-group teaching, independent reading, and other special activities. The building is designed to meet Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) sustainability measures and is expected to be completed in 2023.
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.
The siting of the new structures creates a coherent campus plan. Adding a wing to the existing L-shaped structure, the new classrooms complete the street edge and define 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. One of the defining features of the new classroom building is a tall entry portal that aligns with a slot of space, guiding one’s approach.
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.
This 3500 square-foot building includes a new aftercare facility, kitchen, and classroom for Pluralistic School #1, an existing private elementary school in Santa Monica. Sitting between the school’s existing buildings and its athletic fields, the structure unifies the campus with a new circulation system that loops between the classrooms and the open space.
Including flexibly arranged areas for homework, crafts, and cooking, its location adjacent to the basketball court, soccer field, and general play yard assures easy flow between the various interior and exterior activities. Upstairs, the new classroom (with mezzanine), looks west over the fields to catch the ocean breezes and minimize the intrusion of noise from the yards below.
Throughout the project, structure is exposed so that the students can learn from the logic of construction. Generous use of windows and skylights creates a naturally ventilated, luminous environment in which students find it easy to concentrate. The project includes no air conditioning system and uses minimal energy or artificial lighting.
The exterior is clad in plaster and shiplapped cement board. Its joyful pattern draws from the school’s colors and reflects the sense of directed play that occurs both inside and outside its walls.