Santa Catalina School – Math & Science Bldg Monterey, California

The new Math and Science building at Santa Catalina School stands out as a blend of the Spanish colonial tradition of the campus with modern forms and materials. The spaces around the building were also designed with a new-old approach to learning – using the landscape as an outdoor classroom.

Multiple opportunities for learning abound. The entry plaza contains a brass inlaid ‘golden-ratio’ spiral that stretches between the historic campus and the new classroom building. Beneath a preserved group of oaks stands a stacked boulder wall composed of a variety of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic stone. Nearby, a cistern captures roof rainwater and stores it for summer irrigation. Once the tank fills, the water cascades into a concrete flume where students can learn about hydrodynamics and hydraulics. The water then spills into a series of terraced biofiltration planters where the plant material not only withstands occasional flooding, but also filters out impurities in the water.