High Tech Middle
San Diego, CA 2002-2003
In collaboration with The Stichler Group
Opened in September 2003, High Tech Middle (HTM) is the first middle school partner of the Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High, and houses 300 students in grades 6-8. Designed as a collaborative effort between the HTH design team and The Stichler Group, the building ultilizes a completely renovated structure located adjacent to High Tech High on the grounds of the former Navel Training Center in Point Loma (San Diego), CA. Formerly an air-conditioning training facility, the original building has high ceilings and a sawtoothed skylight system that floods the building with natural light. These features were capitalized upon in the creation of an interior streetscape or "gallery" which serves as the main circulation spine and easy to understand and navigate spatial organizer for the school.
With its plentiful daylight, colorful walls, professionally displayed artwork, and open views into seminar rooms and offices, the gallery is a lively and friendly space. An abundance of glass throughout the school serves to create a high level of transparency and accountability, thus enabling students to work independently, and/or roam freely throughout the building while being informally observed by many sets of adult eyes. The HTM "commons" room is located adjacent to the school's main entry, and can accommodate group meetings of up to 300 students. In an effort to create increased acoustic and visual privacy, the commons room is not as open as that of the Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High's.
The concept of classroom clusters or "neighborhoods" as been more fully developed within the HTM building, with three distinct neighborhoods located along the school gallery, each having its own set of classrooms, teacher offices, and a centrally located "studio" space. The creation of classroom neighborhoods promotes ownership and personalization by breaking down the already small school into yet smaller subsets. Teams of math/science and humanities teachers share offices as well as adjoining classrooms with acoustically rated, movable walls between them.
HTM's interior is a wireless laptop environment designed for ease of technology use and maximum flexibility. Additional key spaces within the building include an Art Lab and a Media Center. An outdoor dining area and amphitheater immediately adjacent to the building serve to extend its learning environment and take advantage of San Diego's temperate climate. Large "barn door" openings at each end of the gallery can be opened to bring in outside air and ventilation, and further promote indoor/outdoor connections.