Loma Ridge Elementary School

Ruhnau Clarke Architects‘ design for Loma Ridge Elementary School focuses on fostering collaboration and innovation through a modern Spanish-revival style, shared courtyard, and flexible learning spaces.

  • area / size 59,860 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Loma Ridge Elementary School is the newest elementary school for Irvine Unified School District. District and community leaders wanted a school that would help students reach their highest potential through positive relationships, collaboration, and a diversity of learning opportunities. They also wanted the school to inspire innovation and creativity with the use of technology and modern maker spaces.

    Loma Ridge Elementary School is designed to maximize opportunities for collaboration and innovation. The school is a modern interpretation of the Spanish-revival style, with features like large arches and clay tile roofing that complement the architecture of the Portola Springs neighborhood.
    The focal point of the school is a shared courtyard near the entrance that connects the MPR, administration, library, and classroom buildings. As the campus is focused on developing relationships, the design encourages togetherness, collaboration, and positive relationships.

    A great example of implementing these values can be found in the kindergarten classrooms. These share a building with administration and were imagined as a scaled-down and self-contained mini campus within a campus. They include interior windows and a shared activity center where students and teachers can collaborate. Sliding glass doors open to the kinder play area. All classrooms include child-scale furniture for young bodies with a variety of seating options so each student can pick which seating style is most comfortable for them.

    The new classroom building has two floors, with lower-grade students on the first floor who “graduate” to the second floor in 4th grade. It includes the campus hub, media center, and design and innovation labs. Both the labs are designed with the newest technology and hard flooring for easy clean up after projects. Collaboration corridors and breakout spaces for both students and staff create a flexible learning environment.

    Additionally, the activity center is the hub community connection. This building contains athletics, VAPA programs, music programs, and the multipurpose room for a variety of community and educational events. The music hub contains multiple classrooms and opens to both the multipurpose room and the outdoor amphitheater. The MPR opens walls to the main courtyard to expand space while an awning provides shade to spectators outside.

    Throughout the campus, large windows maximize visibility from inside the building, encouraging natural guardianship and create an air of transparency and openness on the campus.

    Design: Ruhnau Clarke Architects
    Contractor: Balfour Beatty
    Photography: RMA Photography