John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
1461 E 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
213 253 4740
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c. JFAK, 2020
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.