High Tech High
High Tech High
A California charter school provides a glimpse at
what tomorrow will bring.
By Owen Edwards
Tech Knowledgy: Though it incorporates two older
buildings, High Tech High-LA has a futurist feel.
Call a school High Tech High, instead of, say,
Benjamin Franklin High or Thomas Edison High --
in other words, name it for technology itself
instead of for some enshrined technologist --
and you'll probably want to have the building
as purpose driven as the name. This synchronicity
of word and fact is brilliantly exemplified by
the charter school that occupies an acre of the
71-acre campus of Birmingham High School, in the
Los Angeles suburb of Lake Balboa, California.
Though it incorporates two older buildings from
the factorymodel era of school building, High Tech
High -- LA, with its curving glass walls, well-lit
working areas, and expansive open-space floor plans,
precisely expresses the intellectual ideal of public
education in the new millennium.
"Because the school was a public-private venture,
we were given a lot of latitude," says Richard Berliner,
principal of Berliner and Associates Architecture,
in Los Angeles, who designed the school with senior
project architect Mike Frey. "We got to do things
that typically don't get done in high schools.
Because much of what the school teaches is project based,
it has a high tech corporate feel. Schools are evolving
to reflect the environments people will be working in."
The 27,000-square-foot school, which shares parking
facilities and open space with the much larger Birmingham,
offers just over 300 students, chosen by lottery, the
opportunity to use the latest in digital technology to
pursue what Principal Marsha Rybin describes as a
"vigorous, real-world curriculum."
Space Odyssey: The architects at Berliner and Associates
created naturally lit open-plan areas, soaring industrial
style ceilings, and interior windows connecting
administrators to students to emulate informationage
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
This article is also published in
Edutopia magazine's March 2007 issue.
Bonnie Bracey Sutton
CyberEd Resources : ICT's and Education (owner)
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