In order for this project to even exist, there has to be an assumption that the current school needs a High School, and that the neighbors will not be so resistant as to prevent its realization. The latter is a good possibility, since they are currently fighting tooth and nail to prevent any development of the school’s site, modest as the school’s current proposals are. The prospect of a high school is opposed as if it were an antithesis of the entire neighborhood’s existence up there, no doubt based upon their perceptions of how huge a high school is. Of course, the traffic—but what of community? A school is ripe with opportunities for community development (as the case study of Clinton School shows). Therefore, I am going to have to assume that the school becomes successful at realizing some community spirit, in uniting the community, even, behind a high school, instead of against it.

    Once approval is secured, financing of a large building project always decides once and for all if the project will happen. For this project, the financing will not be considered. It will neither be concerned with the cost and possibility of acquiring the appropriate site, nor the cost of the actual design (within reason). Cost will be a major determining factor for the school: Actual site selection may be based almost entirely upon its availability and cost, and looking at the current rate of building, the program and structures would have to be frugal.

    Obviously, everyone in the Anthroposophical world is enamored with the Goetheanum, whether we speak of the first (destroyed) building, or the second; the form-language has been carried to schools, houses, theatres, shops, garden sheds world-wide, regardless of its appropriateness, creating what has been called a “Steiner-style” or “Steinerized”. Rudolf Steiner created the Goetheanum with the specific intent that it be a spiritual center. This high school is not a spiritual center, and while inspired by his teachings, will not be inspired by his formal language. [more...]

Without getting into a lengthy study of Californian teenagers, a quite safe assumption will be that adolescents consider the most important part of High School to be the social aspects.

Primary Design Issues

The normative issues (A list of “of course”s):

Of course it will integrate with its environment and take advantage of its beautiful setting; of course it will be made of healthful materials, materials that don’t create sick buildings; of course there will be varying levels of privacy in the social environment; of course it will show linkages to the surrounding communities; of course it will look at our culture, it will be a product of our culture; of course it will express the philosophy of Waldorf Education; of course it will provide for security of the students from the road and from other harm; of course there will be legibility in its circulation, its layout, its use, its setting; of course it will be economical; of course it will be sensitive to the community that lives around it and the forests that border the community.


Issues and concerns:

How can the place be personalized to create ownership among the users? This is a universal problem in institutional-type settings. There is often an atmosphere in which places are more like machines, run by unknown hands, than like communities filled with people, all of whom play a part in its existence.

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How will the Architecture provide for the needs of Adolescents? Adolescents need some place to conquer, to discover themselves. Does education at the high school level necessarily have to be instruction in a classroom by a teacher?Possibly not a school in the traditional sense, rather a place of self discovery. The coops in Berkeley provide an interesting study of how young communities can function. They are owned, run, and used entirely by youth for their benefit, to provide low cost living places and provide the atmosphere that they want. There are new ways to look at how education and growth happens; Steiner and Montessori suggest how individuals learn, and it is not a passive process. Maybe the definition of what is a high school must change.

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