Completed in 2016, the new classroom 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 are also designed with a new-old approach to learning by using the landscape as an outdoor classroom.
Multiple opportunities for learning abound. The entry plaza contains a brass inlaid ‘golden-ratio’ spiral that connects 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 withstands occasional flooding and also filters out water impurities.