new vista
architectural projects

HTH Media Arts and HTM Media Arts
San Diego, CA 2004-2006
In collaboration with Carrier Johnson Architects

High Tech Middle Media Arts (HTMMA), and High Tech High Media Arts (HTHMA) are the fourth and fifth HTH schools to be launched at HTH Village in Point Loma (San Diego), CA. Housing 320 students in grades 6-8, and 400 students in grades 9-12 respectively, they occupy the second and third floors of 3-story, 80,000 square foot industrial building with “International Style” fenestration. HTH’s primary school partner, Explorer Elementary, occupies the first floor of the building.

Designed as collaborative efforts of the HTH design team and Carrier Johnson Architects, The HTHMA and HTHMA facilities further develop the detailing of, and connections between, those key spaces that HTH has found to be essential to its inquiry-based academic approach: commons roo; galleries; classroom neighborhoods; multi-purpose seminar rooms; studio spaces; shared teacher work spaces; and distributed administrative offices. The “T”-shaped footprint of the existing building shell suggested the creation of light-filled “California corridors,” off of which classrooms neighborhoods have been located, as well as offices, meeting rooms, and specialty labs. Frequent and well-placed window openings foster transparency, and allow borrowed light to enter deep into seminar rooms and studio spaces.

One significant shift that can be observed in these buildings is the evolution of the studio spaces, which are no longer conceived of as carpeted “living room” areas, but as combination exhibition spaces, project building studios, study areas, and computer labs. Because so much project building goes on in HTH schools, it became impractical to carpet seminar or studio spaces. Furthermore, the high level of ownership that is created within each classroom neighborhood makes it possible for students to leave laptop computers and classroom projects safely unattended in what have essential become centrally located project labs.

The HTMMA and HTHMA commons rooms are each located at their building entries, at the intersections of the “T.” The carpeted commons areas can be set up for large school gatherings, group workshops, classes, and independent study. Full audio/visual capabilities and stage lighting adapt to use for theatrical performances, with an overhead curtain that can subdivide that space in a variety of ways. A grand stairway added to the exterior of the building effectively separates the middle school on the second floor from the high school on the third floor. The two schools are completely separate administratively and physically.

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