Venice High School Comprehensive Renewal

  • area / size 120,000 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • NAC completed the comprehensive renewal of Venice High School with expanded space and possibility in Los Angeles, California.

    Venice High School is a beloved Los Angeles location with a diverse and robust community, famous cameos in movies like Grease, and an intense focus on the future of learning. Once an aging, clunky and disordered campus, the new design leverages Venice’s open culture and temperate climate. A new fluid relationship between indoor and outdoor activities introduces innovative pedagogies and programs with landscape and outdoor spaces treated as an essential part of the campus goals for integrated learning.

    The Main Quad is the new heart of the campus. A diversity of shade, seating, and planted areas provide a variety of settings for socializing and assemblies. The new outdoor stage allows for showcasing school performances.

    The sloped-face concrete block base and long vertical slot windows of the new Science Building echo the weight and rhythms of the campus’ existing historic, concrete PWA Moderne buildings, while housing cutting-edge programs. A horticulture lab and maker space spill out onto the Science Court replete with demonstration gardens and raised planter beds for project-based learning.

    The Arts and Shop Building houses a variety of hands-on educational spaces including arts, graphic design, a print shop, a multimedia lab, and an auto-lab with yard. The glassy, perched 2nd story bar creates a shady “front porch” for outdoor work at the entry level, providing north light for the arts program within. The activity in the double-height graphics print shop is visible from the windows in the ample 2nd floor corridor equipped with benches for collaboration and gathering between classes.

    Large signage elements create dramatic gateways and visual anchors to the new Athletics Complex, allowing for a sense of communal procession and grandeur. The raised topography created by the bermed grandstand elevates the field into a stadium-like setting. The Main Gym incorporates translucent glazing that not only lets in diffused natural light, but also extends the activity on game night to the exterior. A new graphic identity developed for the project aids in providing unity and strengthening school spirit.

    Design: NAC
    Contractor: Hensel Phelps Construction Company
    Photography: Edmund Barr