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Education Design: Grand Award - Westerly School Arts Building
"CMACN: CMU Profiles in Architecture"
Friday, July 1, 2011
RAY BIZJACK ARTS VILLAGE AT WESTERLY SCHOOL
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA
Killefer Flammang Architects
1625 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Will Longyear, AIA
Westerly School of Long Beach
Li and Associates, Inc.
ORCO Block Company, Inc.
Jury Comments: We admired this simple, elegant project because it created such a special learning environment. The buildings are carefully oriented to define beautiful outdoor classrooms and recreation areas. The classrooms seem to extend into the courtyard thanks to ample natura/light and large sliding glass doors. This project likely had a very modest budget. However; it is obvious here that excellent design can elevate any building project to Architecture, even with a modest budget. This project was well-considered, well-detailed and simply beautiful.
Architect's Commentary: Established in 1997, a small private school for grades K-8 is currently housed in portable buildings in an industrial area of Long Beach. With growing optimism for the school's success and academic excellence, the school commissioned this new arts facility and a multipurposepavilion building. Completed in 2009, the Bizjack Arts Village is the first permanent building for the campus:.
Sited on a knoll at the edge of campus, the building's two wings support the performance and visual arts curriculums and define a garden courtyard that serves as an extension of the classrooms and supports student exhibition and performance. An existing amphitheater anchors the ' building to the courtyard and utilizes the covered walkway as a stage. Large sliding glass doors connect the classrooms to the courtyard and provide ample natural light and ventilation. The perimeter gardens create an informal performance space and an outdoor work area.
As the first permanent structure on the campus, the Arts Village establishes an architectural vocabulary and scale for the future development of the campus. The simple building forms and economical use of materials respond to the modest project budget. The building is made of concrete masonry with a light steel roof structure. Smooth plaster is applied to the exterior facades, while exposed shot-blasted masonry is used on the courtyard facades to provide scale and texture through the use of a unique staggered stackbond coursing pattern with alternating joint treatments. Wood trellises protect courtyard facades and create a band shell at the amphitheater stage.
Concrete masonry was selected for this project because of its flexibility, economy, thermal performance, durability and ability to be both a structural solution and finished material. Respecting and incorporating masonry best-practices was a design opportunity that informed the design of building elevations and detailing that resulted in a more nuanced design solution. While working closely with the block manufacturer to adjust the pigment, aggregates and intensity of the block finishes, we became aware of the incredible design oppommity presented by concrete masonry.