Designed as a high school of choice (capacity of 1,700 students) that incorporates the technology of today and the infrastructure for tomorrow, the Dr. Kirk Lewis’ Career Technical High School of Pasadena Independent School District is a state-of-the art facility designed to accommodate a pre-professional curriculum offered by the District. The 253,100 SF facility sits on a 27-acre site and is a prominent landmark for local industries in the Pasadena community. Fostering a safe and secure environment was essential, but the environment still needed to remain transparent and welcome connection to the community.
Responding to the school’s curriculum, lab and classroom spaces were designed to support project-based learning and are outfitted with systems, technology and equipment to encourage a broad range of exploration. By designing a variety of flexible spaces throughout the school, the entire building functions as both a passive and active multi-purpose center. Circulation areas function as collaborative spaces for small, intimate gatherings or larger groups of students, administration and community members to meet for internal/external events. The most flexible space within the school is the auditorium – an innovative design response to square foot limitations. The space is scalable and easily converts between uses, accommodating large community events, physical activity, presentations, socializing and eating. Movable IDF glass walls and partitions can divide the space into three separate rooms and tiered seating on the second level forms a theater.
The building reinforces the principles for design through the concept of “Building as Teacher.” Operating systems are displayed so the learners can see and visualize how the building operates. Visible elements include air handling rooms, a glass enclosed elevator, and the use of partially exposed ceilings to display HVAC, plumbing, electrical, structural, and technologies. Students participating in the manufacturing, construction, technology and engineering programs have visible, real world examples to reference the components and function of their trade.