Open High School Design

By Runner1928 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
A quick link to an interesting article on Fast Company’s Co.Design blog on a high school in Alexandria, Minnesota, which redesigned its infrastructure and interior with Google’s iconic complex in mind.

The new space is bright, open, social, and reconfigurable. It’s made up of six smaller, acoustically separate environments, which connect through an open area called the Community Commons, a combination cafeteria, theater, and social space. Everything is open, right down to walls made out of glass, while all of the furniture is designed to be easy to move around and reconfigure.

This idea of configurability, as well as providing a mixture of different types of spaces, is something we’ve discussed here before.

On the architect firm’s website describing the project, the Cuningham Group, the vision of the school as a community is also brought to the fore:

The design was conceived as a village of learning communities that share an open light filled community commons, the heart and soul of the village. This ‘village’ includes both an Activity Center complete with a Fitness Center that will be open to the public; and a Performing Arts Center featuring a 1,000-seat theater designed in collaboration with several community arts groups.

The firm also made a video which provides a view of exterior and interior spaces of the school. What can be seen is that most spaces are well-lit with natural light from large windows, and provide many sight-lines between spaces for safety and transparency.

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