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Canyon View High School campus is a modern steel building with exposed structural beams and solar canopies
Canyon View High School

Innovation and Change for Next-Gen Students

Client

Agua Fria Union High School District #216

Project Location

Waddell, AZ

Area

237,000 SF

Students

1800

Agua Fria Union High School District’s team defined a vision to blur the lines between ages and abilities, and foster authentic learning and curricular exploration by expanding the definition of what a “place-based” high school can be. Our design emphasizes spatial flexibility and sustainability as primary means of fulfilling the district’s goals. The new facility offers the opportunity to strengthen relationships, foster multiple pedagogies for individualized learning opportunities, and nurtures a culture that is student-focused and faculty-guided.

Classes have the flexibility to be held in spaces designed to suit the learning of the moment, and adjust when necessary. The facility became home to a first-of-its-kind Teaching and Learning Accelerator; an open-source incubator for the art of teaching and learning. Faculty from around the district and beyond come to develop and practice modern pedagogies; visiting speakers are given opportunities to share their knowledge; and students and community can come to partner and explore not just teacher-to-student frameworks, but also student-to-student as well as student-to-teacher norms.

an overhead perspective of the digital model for Canyon View High School

Tour the Building

The campus is comprised of a series of interconnected buildings that include indoor and outdoor project rooms, a learning stair, student dining, and an athletic training corridor to take advantage of the mild southwestern climate. A 225 KW solar system provides shade to reduce solar radiation and assist in energy efficiency, contributing up to 20% of energy needs for the campus.

Explore

an overhead perspective of the digital model for Canyon View High School

Agora

A series of buildings form the Agora, where students gather and socialize. It includes outdoor project rooms, a learning stair, student dining, and an athletic training corridor.

Accelerator

The central node of the Agora is the Accelerator. It holds a theater and adjacent auditorium connected by a glass airplane hangar door to support more than 137 activities identified as district priorities.

Forts

Forts are suites of interconnected learning spaces designed to conjure childhood memories of building forts with chairs and sheets. They provide access to spatial agility though tools and flexible furniture.

Solar Array

a solar array with an outdoor fan

A 250 KW solar system over the Agora provides shade to reduce solar radiation and provide up to 20% of energy needs for the campus. Exterior temperatures never exceed 85 degrees.

Agora

A series of buildings form the Agora, where students gather and socialize. It includes outdoor project rooms, a learning stair, student dining, and an athletic training corridor.

Accelerator

The central node of the Agora is the Accelerator. It holds a theater and adjacent auditorium connected by a glass airplane hangar door to support more than 137 activities identified as district priorities.

Forts

Forts are suites of interconnected learning spaces designed to conjure childhood memories of building forts with chairs and sheets. They provide access to spatial agility though tools and flexible furniture.

Solar Array

a solar array with an outdoor fan

A 250 KW solar system over the Agora provides shade to reduce solar radiation and provide up to 20% of energy needs for the campus. Exterior temperatures never exceed 85 degrees.

A Benchmark in Education

Sustainability

Canyon View High School features a uniquely sustainable – and teachable – design strategy. Our team used local climatic responses to design passive cooling and extend the comfort zone of outdoor spaces, to increase programmable learning spaces. Sun angles, ambient temperature, radiant energy, air movement, and humidification from landscape were accounted for in creating usable outdoor learning spaces and 100% naturally-lit non-glare interior learning spaces. The building will also become part of the school's science curriculum.

01
Process

Design Voice

Over 480 project stakeholders from local businesses, government officials, parents, students, and community members participated in community meetings to create three bold ideas and five guiding principles prior to conceptualize the design. Three consecutive weeks were spent exploring multiple facilities in each region to see how space supported and enabled curriculum. The following design charrettes allowed the team to test ideas, fine tune concepts, and iterate design options.

Students sit in ergonomic seats around an oval table outdoors near a metallic bannister

Canyon View High School fosters academic and curricular exploration by expanding the definition of a ‘place-based’ high school.

Woman sits at a table with sketch paper and markers

In small group breakouts, clarity was added to the program aspirations of the learning suites and the accelerator, both significant elements that would become cornerstones of the design solution.

02
Innovation

Catalyst for Change

The campus is home to a first-of-its-kind teaching and learning Accelerator, an open-source incubator for teaching and learning. Faculty from around the district and beyond use the facility to develop and practice modern pedagogies; visiting speakers share knowledge; and students and community come together to partner and explore. It serves as the nerve center for district-wide professional development with enhanced staff training facilities and high-tech environments. The Accelerator supports dual theaters, an auditorium, an entrance lobby, and an exhibition space, and connects to other key activity areas including the learning stair, broadcasting studio, and a maker space.

Section of building labeled Accelerator has an angled black roof above wall opening up a seating area to the patio

The Accelerator can support more than 137 activities including district-wide professional development, college fairs, productions, and student competitions and exhibits.

A white room, with the wall opened facing orange stairs, has portable bleachers and equipment

The secondary theater, nicknamed the white box, is designed to work independently, or in tandem with, the auditorium.

03
Technology

Bio-Phase Change Material

We are studying the viability of a new approach to thermal storage for heating and cooling buildings by using a Bio-PCM ENRG blanket in one building on campus. Our research aims to pin down exact interrelationships of outdoor temperature; phase-change charge/recharge cycle; amount; type and location of Bio-PCM; occupancy variations; and thermal comfort. We began measuring thermal comfort in March 2018 and energy consumption as of occupation. Our desired building outcomes are twofold: First, for Canyon View High School to operate 78% more efficiently than a traditional high school per EnergyStar benchmark in the same climate; and second, for a more comfortable overall user experience for occupants.

View from under the Accelerator sign looking out to orange bleacher steps partially cover by a solar canopy

Passive cooling through orientation and deep overhang shade, and renewable energy production results in building performance 78% more efficient than a traditional high school in the same climate.

A seating area off a path partially shaded by solar panels

The adaptive comfort standard in the Agora never exceeds 85 degrees operating temperature, even during extreme summer months.

04
Research

Result-Driven Outcomes

Evidence from the proprietary Student Engagement Index and Teacher Engagement Index suggests that individual and group engagement factors, such as active learning, are critical predictors for a student’s academic success. After one year of occupancy, the evaluation results indicated that their “world of learning and teaching” has improved, at times dramatically. Teachers revealed that the new building allowed for a change from a primary focus on testing to one of collaboration. Students identified that the building configurations enabled a shift from testing to a focus on testing and creativity. This research is part of a larger effort to bridge the connection between design and performance. A Bio-PCM research study is underway.

Large carpeted white room with red armchairs. Striped accent walls. Exposed ductwork and hanging pendant lights overhead

In rooms with phase change materials, we are seeing a 3- to 4-degree Fahrenheit decrease in operative temperature, when compared to similar rooms without that material.

Solar panels stretch in rows between two white buildings, partially covering seating areas

All educational spaces are daylit and glare-free. Outdoor education spaces are passively cooled, extending the anticipated number of days the building can function without utility power to over 180 days.

Awards

2020 Education Facility Design Award of Merit

AIA Committee on Architecture for Education

2019 James D. MacConnell Award

Association for Learning Environments

2020 Excellence In Masonry Awards

The Arizona Masonry Council

2019 Grand Prize Award

Learning by Design magazine

2019 New Learning Environment

Association for Learning Environments

2019 AISC IDEAs Award

Canyon View High School was recognized by the American Institute for Steel Construction.

2019 SRP Sustainable Award

AIA Arizona

2018 Excellence in Structural Engineering

Structural Engineers Association of Arizona

2018 Client Award

AIA Arizona

2018 Architecture-Research

AIA Arizona

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