Energized by the connection to surrounding mountains and its campus’ canyon locale, Westlake High School’s new STEM building is a beacon for both its students and the community. Designed to embrace reconfiguration on the fly, interior lab spaces encourage students and teachers to come together in both large settings and small. The rooftop terrace classroom and teachers’ workroom, with their transcendent views and outdoor balconies, encourage lessons that are fluid. Technology, infused into the infrastructure of the building’s 11 classrooms and common areas, allows students to connect to WiFi—indoors or out—wherever and whenever inspiration strikes.
Sustainable features, furthermore, include the use of natural light that’s linked to the building’s lighting control systems; voluminous recycled content and low-VOC materials throughout; water-conserving natural plant materials; high-efficiency HVAC systems; and a construction-waste reduction program.
Native plants and surrounding habitat were preserved during construction because the building was sited on an already-developed parcel of land. Add natural ventilation to the mix, along with views to the mountainous landscape, and this new STEM department now provides a truly rich backdrop for the students to collaborate, explore, and share.