Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies, HMC Architects; EPTDESIGN, Landscape Design 2011
The current leadership of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is apparently operating under a new paradigm that has embraced an awareness that schools should be designed with the environment in mind, while providing opportunities to learn about the ecological sciences. The Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies has embraced the challenge head-on. Each of the campus’ five learning centers (LA River School, School of History and Dramatic Arts, ArtLAB, Early College Academy of Leaders and Scholars, and Alliance Technology and Math Science High School) has a dedicated building complete with its own outdoor instruction area – a template for future schools throughout the district. Shared spaces, such as the library, performing arts center, gym, and sports fields, are located at the edges of the campus, while the multi-story learning centers are in a quieter setting, away from roads and other distractions. The school features a Career Technical Education (CTE) lab, dedicated to fostering careers in sustainability and makes full use of the cam¬pus’ success in sustainable design and ecological conservation. The CTE lab focuses the school’s science curricula around the study of water, soil, and energy. The lab is located adjacent to the school’s preserved wetland, serving as a working research area while bringing students physically in contact with the natural environment surround¬ing the campus. The 6,000-square-foot facility serves 90 students in three science laboratories, while also providing a greenhouse amenity and support spaces for teachers and visiting scientists..
The sustainable campus is adjacent to the Los Angeles River on the former Taylor Yard is home to five distinct Learning Academies: LA River School, School of History and Dramatic Arts, ArtLAB, Early College Academy of Leaders and Scholars, and Alliance Technology and Math Science High School. In collaboration with HMC Architects, EPTDESIGN landscape design selected plantings for their suitability for the Los Angeles River environment and potential wildlife habitat.
The Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies is located at 2050 San Fernando Road in the Elysian Valley/Glassell Park vicinity of Los Angeles, California.