After Amino South Los Angeles High School was mostly destroyed by a fire in 2014, Architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa has reconstructed the school in a bold shade of yellow, in an innovative and secure way.
Located in the Westmont-West Athens neighbourhood – with one of the LA’s highest rates in crime – Brooks + Scarpa took on the challenge to reconstruct the school with security in mind on an extremely low budget. Wrapped in anodised-aluminium panels, security fences are replaced with 20-foot-high metal walls that surround the school, designed to be bullet resistant.
“Fair Housing and school busing have plagued the area since the early 1960s, where median family income is less than $35,000 per year and 25 per cent of the population lives below the poverty level,” said Brooks + Scarpa. “The area was also a central trouble spot during the 1964 Watts and the 1992 Rodney King Riots.”
With the intention to create a structure that was “visually open, but entirely secured”, the design firm used perforated screens to create a sense of security and privacy, while also allowing for light and air to pass through. “The use of cladding, fenestration, colour and transparency create a memorable sense of richness, providing a bright moment in an extremely tough inner-city community,” the firm said.
Designed around a series of required clearances, such as an existing oil well, access to the three-story campus can be gained via a horse-shoe courtyard. To the right is a building housing offices and a reception area, a teacher workroom, and two classrooms. To the left is and along the back are classrooms and restrooms to accommodate 630 students.