Da Vinci Wiseburn HS
Autonomy, Community and Synergy; Small School Culture; School as High-Performance Workplace; Community Access
Three co-located but autonomous 9-12 public charter high schools under the umbrella of a public school district, serving 500 students each. Renovated 1982, 4-story, 210,000 SF, steel framed office building.
Co-located and autonomous Small High Schools, District and Charter School Offices, Central Atrium, Community Multi-Purpose Space, Community Theater, Community Athletic Complex, Commons Areas, Grade Level Teaching Neighborhoods, cross-discipline Teacher’s Offices, Teamed Classrooms with movable walls, Maker Multi-Purpose Studio Spaces, Makerspaces and Fabrication Labs, and varied Display and Exhibition venues.
El Segundo, California
With the openness and flexibility typical of today’s inventive work environments, Wiseburn USD/ Da Vinci Schools in El Segundo, California, underscores the idea that learning happens at many more places than just the desk.
A network of public charter schools that operate under the umbrella of a hosting public school district, Da Vinci Schools has attracted national attention for its engaging and successful STEM and STEAM elementary, middle and high school programs. The Da Vinci Wiseburn Campus contains three 500-student high schools (Da Vinci Science, Da Vinci Design, and Da Vinci Communications) that are co-located yet operate independently within the network’s new four-story facility. Each high school supports a highly diverse student population through curriculum and programming that emphasize project-based delivery, college and career readiness and real-world learning.
The building is organized around a light filled central atrium space, with each school occupying its own floor of the building complex. The ground level houses shared District and Charter Offices, a dining space, a multi-purpose room and a 5,000 SF incubation space for local business partners that serve as mentors to Da Vinci students. Each school is organized around a central school commons and school-specific fabrication lab. Grade-level Classroom neighborhoods each contain a centrally located learning commons as well as a collection of classrooms and open and enclosed break-out spaces that work together synergistically to maximize flexibility of use.
New Vista’s visioning process for the school sought to align the needs of diverse entities that each had a large stake in the new school design: Wiseburn Public Schools, Da Vinci Schools, and the Wiseburn community. The public education component of this job proved challenging, important, and ultimately highly successful. It aimed to expand the thinking of local community members about what is desirable and possible with regard to the design of their first community high school. The final design for the campus provides a future-forward facility that will serve the community for decades to come, as well as a number of community amenities that include a 400-seat theater in-the-round and a 48K SF community athletic facility with a pool and 6 basketball courts. The Da Vinci school network has also become a training hub for educators from around the world who visit its schools in order to learn from its pioneering practices.