Bridging Two Needs: Celebrating tradition through architecture

May 15, 2012

EVO, A Green Schoolhouse Serices Publication
By Sim Barhoum

May 2012

Oceanside High School Performing Arts Center, Oceanside, CA
New Performing Arts Center will celebrate rich architectural heritage

Last year in Oceanside, Calif., school trustees and administrators spoke to a boardroom full of architects and consultants about what they envisioned for the intended Oceanside High School Performing Arts Center. Their dream was to erect a new structure over a current parking lot and they wanted a theater that could seat at least 500 to accommodate band, drama, choir and other performances and offer an educational space beyond the stage. The trustees also saw an additional value – the potential of the center to be an active and often used community building.

Many people at the meeting foretold of how the chosen architect would profit in ways other than receiving part of the bond fund for the project. The new theatre would be a highly visible work of architectural art that would be one of the most prominent features noticed upon entering North County San Diego along the Interstate 5 corridor.

Recently, the same Oceanside Unified board of trustees met again and unanimously selected Harley Ellis Devereaux from among five finalists to design the new Center. The architecture firm was selected because it focused on how the building would fit the requirements of the people, community and students who use it.

The proposed new Performing Arts Center celebrates the rich architectural heritage of the existing campus by adding a new component that speaks to the 21st century. It bridges two needs: a music and theater venue for the city which builds on the traditions of great public spaces by famed architects Irving Gill, Charles Moore and others; and a teaching facility that is a place of experimentation and innovation for the next generation.

Harley Ellis Devereaux will be creating integrated, versatile and inviting indoor/outdoor spaces that become part of a coherent, safe and readily occupied urban landscape. They will also be using sustainable building strategies within the design principles. Exposed southwest walls will be covered with ‘green screens’ for cooling and protection. A broad roof overhang will provide protection from sun and rain and reduce glare while promoting indoor/outdoor use of the lobby. This includes natural ventilation and will integrate a fly tower to form a solar chimney for passive cooling. The main spaces of the Performing Arts Center will employ displacement ventilation, taking advantage of the single tiered seating and high volume in the theaters. And finally, sustainable materials and low flow or waterless fixtures will be employed to conserve water, complimenting sustainable landscaping strategies which include low water use, storm water reuse and management, energy reduction, recycled materials, potential harvesting of rainwater and use of greywater for irrigation.

The new Performing Arts Center promises to be a vital hub of activity, drawing in both the high school community and the citizens of Oceanside. The transparency of public areas and its dramatic, sculptural forms will create a new animated landmark for the School District and City of Oceanside.

How Harley Ellis Devereaux Celebrates the Architectural Tradition of Oceanside High
• Creating an iconic landmark for Oceanside, viewable from the freeway
• Siting and landscape to extend the best qualities of the existing campus
• Integrating driveways, drop off areas, parking and pedestrian plazas
• Merging a coherent, safe and readily occupied urban landscape
• Lobby as a multi-purpose venue uniting the plaza and two performance halls
• Sustainable building strategies like recycling
• Sustainable landscape strategies like greywater

TAGS: culture, pre k-12 education,