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Westmont and Del Mar Science Buildings
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Westmont and Del Mar Science Buildings
San Jose, CA

Schools That Teach

A vision for classrooms that not only house the teaching of Science. They participate in the teaching of Science.

Flexible, project based classrooms. Designed to accommodate the evolution of the teaching of science, the increase in cross-discipline blending and the true intersectionality of knowledge.  With rekindled emphasis on the power of genuine teaching, face to face, hands on, real human interaction and the physical passing of knowledge from generation to generation.

Teachable moments. Warm floors with differentiated finishes so students may ask simple questions like: “Why is this section of the floor warm and the other not?”  Manifolds that allow input and output temps to be measured. Accessible inverters and ,monitors so students can track how much power is being produced by PV’s. Exposed and exhibited structural elements that are visually accessible for discussions of mechanics, geometry. A “Cosmo” courtyard with gemometircs  for setting up astronomical observations, a “Bio” courtyard with variable exposures for plants and ponds expressed in organic geometries; Places to hang things, drop things, project things.   And light. Lots of light. You can’t teach kids about the universe if they can’t see the universe from their classroom.

At Prospect Science DTA designed the first Astro-Photography Observatory in a public high school in the United States.

We believe everything about a schoolhouse should be able to trigger questions on the part of students when they happen to look around and notice their environment. We believe the building itself can tell a story. About it’s own nature, about the relationship it has with the larger community and about the relationship it has with the earth.

 

Architectural Harmony and the Importance of Wholeness

DTA took an aggressive stance in harmonizing the Science Buildings with the architecture of existing school buildings. Built on sites originally constructed in the 60’s,  they remained viable cutting edge schoolhouses in their basic genes.   More, the harmonized sites presented a commitment to wholeness when compared to the fragmented “shopping mall” iteration seen in many schools.

These projects were part of a Long Term Improvement Program in which DTA provided Program Genesis, Program Management, 100%l Architectural Design / Design Management  and 100% Construction Management. In a traditional yet cutting edge relationship between architect and client, trust was introduced as the critical ingredient that reduced soft costs by 50% and diverted millions back into actual buildings.