The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High
San Diego, CA 2000-2002
In collaboration with The Stichler Group
Opened in September, 2000, The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High (HTH) is the first of the High Tech High schools. Its dynamic facility is located on the grounds of the former Navel Training Center in Point Loma (San Diego), CA, in the midst of what is now a thriving mixed-use development that includes adjacent housing, business and retail establishments, cultural institutions, and public plazas and parks. Housing 450 students in grades 9-12, the building was designed as a collaborative effort between the HTH design team and The Stichler Group. The project entails the adaptive reuse and complete renovation of a 38,500 square foot warehouse building, the interior of which boasts saw-tooth skylights which flood the building with natural light, and an exposed steel structural system that runs its entire length. With its ubiquitous technology, flexible spaces, open sight lines, and high-end finishes, the facility is a model for 21st Century teaching and learning.
Visitors often remark upon entering, that HTH feels more like a high-performance work environment than a school. Exhibitions of student artwork and academic projects are displayed throughout the building, making learning highly evident and interactive. In addition to housing one of the most advanced high school 3-D modeling and animation labs in the country, the facility houses state-of-the-art biochemistry, engineering, and robotics labs. A large and centrally located “commons” room serves as the intellectual hub of the school, a space for whole-school meetings, and a backdrop for the formal and informal presentation of student work. Circulation throughout the building takes place along “galleries,” each showcasing student projects and offering multiple vistas into the school’s seminar rooms (classrooms) and administrative spaces. Many of the school’s 18 seminar rooms are clustered around unprogrammed, open “studio” spaces, thus creating smaller “neighborhoods” within the building. This approach was expanded upon in the design of the second HTH school, High Tech Middle.