West CTA is a 196,500 square foot, public high school level career and technical academy designed to take advantage of “project based” learning. Its site is designed to promote a sense of community by creating unique social environments within its six academic academies as well as in the communal areas in the two support facilities and outdoor spaces. Sustainable practices enhance the learning and social spaces by providing shade with photovoltaic panels in the outdoor courtyard, and strategically designing each façade for day lighting according to its orientation.
Each academy radiates from its core; a large specialty space designed for its academy. Visual connections are maintained throughout with glazing between the circulation area and classroom and lab spaces; defining and reinforcing the ultimate goals of each discipline.
The academies step down the natural contours of the site, minimizing earthwork costs while providing the courtyard dynamic landscaped and hardscaped spaces. The individually prototyped academies allowed PSC to design the campus this way resulting in less cost for the owner.