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Brooks + Scarpa - Solar High School in Los Angeles

The Amino Leadership High School, in Los Angeles, California, designed by Brooks + Scarpa. Photo: John Linden

Los Angeles, California-based firm Brooks + Scarpa designed a new 500-student high school building for a difficult neighborhood in the Lennox area of south Los Angeles, California. In a prominent display of sustainability, the south-facing main facade of the Animo Leadership High School (also known as the Green Dot Animo Leadership High School) is shaded by a vertically oriented photovoltaic array, similar to the firm's earlier Colorado Court housing project.

Located directly under the LAX flight path and near the busy I-105 freeway, the 53,500-square-foot (4,970-square-meter) building occupies a modest site at the southern end of a long rectangular block. Because outdoor space is at a premium, significant portions of the school's ground level, including an entry court and wide central hallway, are open.

The courtyard and concrete bleachers beyond. Photo: John Linden

Space for small outdoor courtyard with a terraced multipurpose bleacher was also carved out of the northwest corner of the site. A food service area stands adjacent to the courtyard on the building's southwest corner, under the sheltering overhang of the upper floors. And just to the east, the wide, sheltered entry court extends from the street to the courtyard.

Floor plan drawings. Image: Brooks + Scarpa

The courtyard and bleachers also serve as an internal reference point, standing along the major east-west corridor that organizes the school's spaces and near a staircase. Classrooms are arrayed along the southern side of the main hallway on all three floors, running the full length of the building on the second and third floors.

Overview from the southwest. Photo: John Linden

On the north side of the corridor, the ground floor contains a small amount of faculty parking and administrative offices. On the upper floors, this zone houses specialty classrooms, laboratories, and the school library.

Stairs above the bleachers and terrace lead to a third-level chemistry lab. Photo: John Linden

It is estimated that the building's 650-panel photovoltaic array will produce as much as 75 percent of the energy consumed. The firm estimates that together with other strategies including daylighting and passive ventilation, this should qualify the building for CHPS and/or LEED certification.

Section drawings through classrooms (top) and courtyard (bottom). Image: Brooks + Scarpa

Animo Leadership High School was completed in February 2013.

West facade. Photo: John Linden

Project Credits
  • Architect: Brooks + Scarpa
    • Project Team: Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA - Principal-in-Charge. Angela Brooks, AIA, Mark Buckland, Ching Luk, Project Architect, Brad Buter, Silke Clemens, Emily Hodgdon, Gwynne Pugh, Sri Sumantri
  • Structural Engineer: Thorton Thomassetti
  • MEP Engineer: E2DI
  • Acoustical: Veneklaussen
  • Civil: Barbara Hall
  • Construction Manager: Telecu
  • Photography: John Linden

Photovoltaic facade and sheltered main entrance. Photo: John Linden

Project Details
  • Area: 53,500 square feet (4,970 square meters)
  • Floors: 3
  • Energy Use Intensity: Not Available
Caption. Photo: John Linden

Overview from southeast. Photo: John Linden

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