Cardinal Newman High School – New Science Classroom Building

Project Description

Firestorm. The Cardinal Newman High School community was devastated by the Tubbs Wildfire in October 2017. The campus lost several structures, including classroom buildings, a library, and administrative spaces. Others were smoke-damaged to the point of being uninhabitable.

Resiliency. Despite the chaos and dramatic loss, many stories of resilience and recovery have emerged following the tragic 2017 event. The rebuilding of Cardinal Newman’s campus, including a two-story classroom building at its northern end is one such story.

Transformation. The new Classroom Building is conceived both as a humble replacement and as a project of transformation. Programmatically, the use of the portion of campus lost to fire is unchanged, remaining as classrooms. Physically, the new design reorients the replacement classrooms toward the interior of campus and creates a new shared student space at its center. The original one-story sprawling layout of 16 independent buildings is replaced with a two-story 18-classroom structure and separate Art and Robotics studio. With the building footprint reduced by 50 percent, the surplus ground space is reimagined as a central courtyard and a new heart of daily student activity. The new courtyard is flanked by walkways, balconies, and stairways on all sides to further activate the space as a destination for students, a place for socializing, studying, and community building.