December 5th, 2013
By Eera Babtiwale, Environmental Analyst
Middle College High School (MCHS), located on the campus of LA Southwest College, demonstrates how sustainability is the way forward, serving as an example of how sustainable design is synonymous with good building design. The project is the result of a unique collaboration between the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Community College District, Southwest College and the design-build team of HMC Architects-Bernards Brothers. From design conception to construction, all entities recognized the critical synergy between sustainable design and successful learning environments. As a result of this shared philosophy, the 61,105-GSF high school achieved LEED Gold certification.
September 19th, 2013
Scheduled to open in 2016, Irvine Unified School District engaged HMC Architects to design its new comprehensive high school (High School No. 5) and lead the collaborative design process. The high school is a prime example of a district responding to its growing community needs, engaging community stakeholders throughout the design process and going through an extensive educational specifications review process. The result is a tailored educational environment that is being built with the support of end-users and the community to specifically meet the unique needs of the school’s students, faculty and staff.
- The article addresses:
- — The growing needs of a master planned community
- — Stakeholder engagement and community outreach
- — Educational specifications verification process
- — Campus organization and architecture
September 17th, 2013
Originally targeting LEED Silver certification, HMC recently received news that Los Angeles USD’s Sonia M. Sotomayor Learning Academies was awarded LEED Gold certification—this is HMC’s first high school campus (not just a single building) to earn LEED certification. During the LEED review process, the team submitted an appeal for three more credits and was awarded them, pushing the project into LEED Gold. LAUSD advocated for taking the project from silver to gold, and HMC was able to deliver!
September 17th, 2013
The Sobrato Family Learning Commons at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif. has been selected to the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2013 Library Design Showcase. The project is published in the September/October issue of American Libraries, the flagship magazine of the ALA.
The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, providing association information, news, events and advocacy resources for members, librarians and library users. Its magazine, American Libraries, is sent to more than 65,000 individuals and organizations worldwide. The Library Design Showcase is the publication’s annual feature celebrating the best new and newly renovated or expanded libraries of all types. They publish libraries that are shining examples of innovative architecture and that address the service needs of patrons in unique, interesting and effective ways. We are delighted that the Sobrato Family Learning Commons at Saint Francis High School is among those honored.
The Sobrato Family Learning Commons is a vibrant hub of student activities. It replaces the existing library and includes the renovation of an adjacent classroom building. On the ground floor, a student center promotes school engagement with multiple student support departments, while on the second floor students benefit from a technology-rich, flexible library. The library has a thoughtful blend of access with appropriate levels of privacy needed for student research, individual study and group academic development. To further increase the flexibility, the building structure was designed with moment frame connections to avoid the use of brace frames interrupting the interior spaces.
September 12th, 2013
Fast Company recently reported on HMC’s teaming with Project Frog to design “Impact,” a new classroom building platform that’s cheap, durable and simple—but also provides a better learning environment than portable classrooms. Read the entire article on Fast Co Exist>>
August 21st, 2013
HMC Architects conducted a client market survey to better understand the critical drivers that influence our clients’ delivery of service on their core mission. We asked our survey participants to think about the future and respond with some of the more challenging issues that keep them awake at night.
Our analysis is detailed in the report, Listening. Read how universal trends are changing the way all organizations think and conduct business, then dive into the specific issues affecting the civic/justice, community college, healthcare, K-12 education or university markets.
August 19th, 2013
School Planning & Management recently published online the article “Options for Learning: Innovation in Education” by Chris Taylor and Mike Fine, superintendent of Riverside USD.
The article addresses how the current system of how public schools operate is changing and many school districts are realizing that education shouldn’t be one size fits all. Chris and Mike wrote, “Districts are transitioning to becoming Districts of Choice, meaning they welcome all students including those from outside their district boundaries. Riverside USD has opted to be an early adopter in offering options for learning by giving residents programmatic choices for schools. By realizing that students learn differently and excel in various areas of studies, Riverside has been able to position itself as a district people seek out at a time when other districts are facing declining enrollment….”
July 18th, 2013
Project Frog, the nation’s premier component building company, and HMC Architects, a leader in the planning and design of educational environments, have teamed up to deliver “Impact,” Project Frog’s next generation building platform specifically designed around the needs of 21st century learning. This efficient component building solution is transforming the way schools approach new learning environments by providing long-term cost savings and time saving over traditional construction methods.
While all schools are facing increased pressures to build smarter, it is a critical concern for public school districts and counties. The resurgence of local school bond financing combined with new state mandates for permanent facilities has put pressure on the building industry to provide better, high-performing buildings quickly and at a price within budget.
The new building platform, called Impact, answers the call of students and teachers across the nation for healthier, inspirational buildings, while addressing the needs of administrators for speed, durability and affordability. Coined Impact to reflect the significant role these buildings will have on the student experience, the platform is distinguished by slab-on-grade permanent buildings that go up in half the time of traditional construction at a price all can afford. Entirely new campuses or additions to existing facilities can be constructed out of the Impact building components. The walls and infrastructure are reconfigurable, which allows schools to easily adapt to changes in space requirements as needs evolve.
Impact component buildings, which arrive flat-packed and are assembled by a general contractor on-site, are designed to perform 60% better than Title 24 and can achieve LEED Silver and CHPS (Collaborative for High Performing Schools) compliance right out-of-the-box. The Impact building platform incorporates the latest in innovative systems and state-of-the-art technologies. Most notable is the fully integrated LED lighting package, which coupled with the almost 12’ ceilings and large windows, contributes to 85% daylight autonomy in each building.
Impact incorporates several one- and two-story building configurations, twelve of which have already been approved by California’s Division of State Architects (DSA), either via Pre-Check or project specific approval. The platform is designed to accommodate a number of site, program and curricular contexts, spanning projects of anywhere from 1,440 to 80,000 square feet.
The Project Frog and HMC alliance has inspired several school districts and charter schools in California to take action and build smarter, including the South San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Ana Unified School Districts. More than 300,000 square feet of new Impact buildings for education have been specified for both portable replacement and new campus building solutions, with 50,000 square feet opening in fall 2013 alone.
“HMC and Project Frog share the same mission to improve and inspire the human condition through shaping better environments,” said Brian Staton, CEO of HMC Architects. “HMC’s goal is to bring our clients innovative and cost-effective solutions that deliver on their educational missions. The partnership with Project Frog allows us to do that—faster, smarter and more cost-effective buildings that allow schools to focus less on the construction process and more on student learning and outcomes.”
“From the get go, Impact was designed to be a flexible, easy-to-use tool for architects and general contractors. But, this collaboration marks a first for Project Frog,” said Ann Hand, Project Frog’s CEO. “Education is core to our mission, so we didn’t choose our partners in the development of Impact lightly. HMC impressed us with their deep expertise, knowledge of the Pre-K–12 market and their desire to embrace innovation as a means to provide a wider range of low-cost and high-quality building solutions to educational clients.”
The two companies worked hand-in-hand during the system design phase to integrate HMC’s architectural and domain expertise with Project Frog’s component system criteria, as well as its performance and cost drivers. HMC Architects and Project Frog continue to work closely together to understand schools’ unique needs and the solutions that the Impact building will deliver to them for over 50 years.
May 29th, 2013
HMC/School Advisors’ School News is out! Read about the latest trends in K–12 education.
“Build Understanding, Build Successful Projects“
What makes a building project successful? How can you provide the best learning environments for your students and community in an efficient and well-coordinated manner? These are the questions continually going through the minds of school district and county officials. Seeing the need for schools and building team members to better understand each other’s roles and responsibilities, the Central Valley Successful Projects Workshops were developed.
“Listening: Market Trends Summary“
In late 2012, HMC conducted a client outreach “Market Survey” to better understand the trends affecting the K–12 market in California. We asked our survey participants to think about the future and respond with some of the more challenging issues that are keeping them awake at night.
“Local GO Bond Campaigns Make the Difference“
With the uncertainty of future state funding and suspensions of Level III developer fees, school districts must rely more heavily on local funding to support educational facilities improvements. While this necessitates the evaluation of potential GO bond measures, it is important for districts to realize that successful campaigns do not just happen on their own.
May 6th, 2013
HMC Architects received an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter for the design of the Orchard School Library in San Jose, Calif. The project was recognized for its outstanding contributions to the built environment in the category of Excellence in Architecture. The Orchard School District sought a sustainable facility to improve its outdated and overcrowded campus library, with the goals of housing their growing book collection, improving student access to technology, educating students on green buildings and a sustainable future, and uniting the campus.
The 2013 Design Awards jury consisted of Angela Brooks, AIA, principal of Brooks + Scarpa Architecture; Julie Eizenberg, AIA, principal of Koning Eizenberg Architecture; and Neil Denari, AIA, principal of NMDA. The jurors commented that the Orchard School Library was the best executed of its type. They also said, “It is high-economy project, meaning its geometry and materials conspire to make something greater than the sum of the parts. The craftsmanship and assembly of the project is an impressive example of the architectural culture in San Francisco. The project is well executed with ease and there is nothing forced about it. We found using the new building to screen the old was clever, and the library has a good human scale for the elementary and middle school students. The Orchard School Library is well deserving of an Honor Award.”
“We are honored that the Orchard School Library is held in such high regard from the design community and has received this prestigious Honor Award from AIA San Francisco,” said David Maglaty, AIA, LEED AP, senior project designer at HMC. “The library is a success in social responsibility and embodies academic excellence, environmental sensitivity, technology literacy, and it builds community.”
With its location at the center of the campus and tucked between stucco-clad, flat roofed buildings, HMC’s team knew they needed to distinguish the library from its surroundings. The design responds to this challenge through the use of a high-pressure laminate, rainscreen façade, giving the library a technologically advanced aesthetic reflective of its position in the heart of Silicon Valley. The taper of the building is in response to its smaller student users, and also effectively blocks the unattractive view of an adjacent building’s blank rear wall, while maintaining a continuous sense of connection with the landscaped plaza outside.
The interior of the library fosters an environment of high academic standards and supports the District’s vision of shaping students to be lifelong learners. Full-height glass brings natural light deep into the expanded space, which is a drastic departure from the obstructed views of its predecessor. A natural wood screen helps to define spaces for different activities and provides boundaries without compromising supervision. Previously dark existing instructional spaces relocated to the expanded corners filled with natural light. The renovated existing space now houses stacks for the 18,000-volume collection and a new technology lab for up to 36 students.
An integrated design approach with Blach Construction and the systems designers resulted in sustainability measures intrinsic to the building rather than adding on gizmos—the library has received LEED Gold certification from the USGBC.