American School & University American School & University

American School & University

October 2008

Academic Village

The Science and Humanities Classroom Building at Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif., has been completed. Construction on the first phase of this five-acre master plan began in August 2006. Once completed, the project will be the first non-sectarian independent school for the seventh through 12th grade in the San Fernando Valley in 50 years. In addition to the classroom building, the master plan calls for an athletics complex, performing arts center, administration building and dining commons.

The three-story, 53,000-square-foot classroom building contains a variety of academic spaces, including 23 classrooms – each designed to serve 20 students; a student-life center; a 20,000-volume library space; fine arts studios; a dance studio; photo lab with darkroom; and an 11,000-square foot science wing with a lecture hall and six college-level working labs. The dramatic, curving façade of the building follows the line of the street, forming a protective perimeter for the interior plaza, and shielding the campus from traffic noise.

The building integrates environmentally sensitive components and building features. South-facing elevations are shaded with a continuous perforated aluminum sunscreen, and the majority of classrooms are accessed via exterior corridors. All windows feature 1-inch-thick, insulating, dual-pane glass and have operable panels. Fluorescent lighting is governed by motion sensors that turn lights off when rooms are not in use.

The architect is Parallax Associates, Inc. (Culver City, Calif.)