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At LPA, sustainable architecture is our passion.

For more than 45 years we've been advocating the message that sustainable design can be achieved on any project, budget, building type and location.

Sustainability is the foundation of timeless design—design that transcends culture and trends.

This blog is a reflection of our approach—our approach to Integrated Sustainable Design.

Please submit post requests and/or ideas to ctarnow[at]lpainc[dot]com.

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Thematic High Schools: 10 Design Tips to Consider

Thematic High School E3 Civic High designed by LPA San Diego

By Guest Blogger Donald Pender, AIA, REFP

As school districts continue to look at new ways to engage students with a wide range of learning styles, one new model being considered is the Thematic High School. Career Technical Education is one example of a Thematic High School, but there are others as well. Thematic High Schools can consist of Career Technical Academies, Arts and Music Academies, Science and Technology Academies, College Prep Academies, or any number of targeted themes. There are specific differences between each of these, which can affect design decisions such as learning space requirements and characteristics, and furniture and equipment requirements. For example, an Art and Music Academy would have some very different spatial and equipment requirements than say a Science and Technology Academy.

Sustainable School Design Enhances 21st Century Learning

Beyer Elementary School Intern Architecture San Diego

By Guest Blogger Victoria Nizzoli, Professional Studio Intern

As present forms of education continue to evolve, so should the architecture that facilitates these programs. As students interning at LPA, a K-12 design firm, this is what we believe. This is also our design project, for a redesign of Beyer Elementary School in San Ysidro, Calif.

The Value of Building Reuse

Newport Harbor High School Green Modernization California

I'm a firm believer that sustainability is less about investing in the latest, salvation-providing craze in technology and more about revising habitual thought processes. Being green doesn't have to be flashy or overt. Instead, it's better when adopted as a regular, integrated custom within everyday life. So in that same vein, I take particular interest in building reuse—both in its adaptive reuse form as well as just a general recycling and upgrade of building purposes. I find it worthwhile to take and improve architecture that is already a part of the built environment, bringing it in line with a more efficient and ecologically friendly direction, without relying on a brand new building constructed from scratch.

Sustainable Planning and Design in K-12 Schools: Part 5

Fremont High School Design by LPA Architects

In the fifth and final post of this series, we are going to look at some of the exterior elements that enhance the long-term viability and function of your school buildings. A green, K-12 facility does not simply sprout from the ground and rise up to the sky. It connects to the ground, and the sky, and the weather, and the surrounding uses with a mix of essentials that enhance its sustainability. Today, we’ll take a look at façade design, thermal lag and the diurnal differential—I promise I’ll explain that in a minute, and roofing options that serve a multipurpose strategy.

Green Apple Day of Service: Something for everyone in Orange County

Green Apple Day of Service Orange County

Joining the ranks of more than 1,250 service projects in 49 different countries, LPA proudly participated in the very first Green Apple Day of Service on Sept. 29, 2012—an initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools—showcasing the recent completion of a pro bono “greenovation” at the Davis Magnet School in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Davis Magnet School Greenovation: Exponential Education

Davis Magnet School Before and After Greenovation

By Guest Blogger Lindsey Engels, Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council in Orange County

When we first agreed to partner with Davis Magnet School to start experimenting with two of their classrooms, we were not quite sure what we were going to teach them. The school was already giving the students first hand lessons with regards to recycling, composting, and even growing their own food in a learning garden. The kids were even sorting their trash for recyclables and compost, and weighing it when done so they could track their progress.

K-12 Schools Spotlight: How to Save Money with Green Modernizations

Arcadia High School Green Expansion designed by LPA

The greenest thing a school district can do is to make its existing schools more sustainable. Green modernizations are even more sustainable than constructing new green schools. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is the mantra of a well-known ad campaign we all remember; it applies to the green modernization and expansion of existing schools, as well.

Sustainable Planning and Design in K-12 Schools: Part 4

California Green K-12 School Design by LPA Inc.

If you follow K-12 School Design like I do, you’ll notice that districts across the country are going green to save green. Although schools are closed for summer vacation, there is no vacation from the funding cuts that most every school is experiencing. Simple steps that improve a school’s indoor environment cost nothing. Abundant natural daylight, outdoor views, and fresh filtered air don’t come with a high price tag—and yet, they’ll make your classroom feel like a million-dollar educational space.

Classroom Design Ideas: Creative K-12 Setups

Creative K-12 School Setups

By LPA Blogger Kate Mraw

We hope you’ve been enjoying our posts about the latest in k-12 learning environments, research based design, and the very special charter high school in schematic design for the Orangewood Children’s Foundation. Today, we’ll tie all of these themes together, with further insights about classroom design and how it can keep foster teens and at-risk youth engaged in their learning experience. Remember, The Academy is a 320-student charter high that the Orangewood Children’s Foundation has brought LPA on board to design and develop; its goal is to groom its students with the skills and confidence they’ll need to break the cycle of abuse, and live healthy, productive lives.

High School Design for At-risk and Foster Teens

Orangewood Children's Foundation Charter High School, designed by LPA Inc.

Last week, we shared with you our ambitious mission: to create sustainable places and spaces that truly enrich the lives of those who use them. As we strive to make this mission a reality through more supportive, thoughtful, and informed design solutions it’s exciting to see this play out, in a real world example. As learning becomes more active, it is our job, as K-12 school designers, to discover how classroom environments can better support learning activities. In the following example, you’ll see how engaging learning environments can not only produce successful learners, but change lives as well.

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