New LA Charter School
A Warehouse Converted into an Educational Beacon
New Los Angeles Charter School is a dynamic and diverse public middle school that develops students who are passionate about learning and engaged in their community. The organization seeks to bring middle schools to the areas of cities that currently have no educational systems in place.
New LA undertook the groundbreaking effort of renovating and converting a large two-story aerospace light manufacturing warehouse as the school’s permanent home. Abramson Architects was retained to assist New LA in performing a complete due diligence on the building to determine the feasibility of its conversion into a school. The architectural team evaluated the structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems of the building as well as the environmental condition of the facility. The building was also seismically retrofitted to education facility standards; this allowed an interplay of existing brick to the new design.
Light and color played an important role in the design. An inexpensive method of animating the exterior façade was the use of patterning painted colors. The color yellow was distinctly used for markers of entry and circulation. Light was introduced into the heart of the school at the primary circulation point with a fifty-foot-long skylight. In the cafeteria, existing loading dock openings were converted to large glass garage doors and the ceiling was removed to achieve maximum volume in the space with substantial amounts of natural light.