Education Update: Paradise Canyon Elementary School Modernization

As the construction of our Paradise Canyon Elementary Modernization for La Cañada Unified School District continues, the Practice team had a chance to visit the American Modular Systems factory to evaluate progress on the modular structures being fabricated to increase construction efficiencies, reduce on-site waste, and speed the erection process for this significant campus upgrade.

Originally built in 1959, the mid-century modern elementary school set within La Cañada’s rustic landscape and foothill terrain needed a comprehensive modernization to create a cohesive strategy that supported universal accessibility and learning.

The new campus plan and facility designs replace fifteen portable classroom buildings with two permanent classroom facilities coupled with an enhanced landscape that creates a cohesive identity and sense of place while connecting with the local ecology and outdoor education. In addition, upgraded M/E/P systems for advanced technology and learning, and on-site energy production through solar PV are integrated into the campus. The massing of the new buildings alleviates noise and traffic concerns to abutting neighbors, while the utilization of brick on the façade connects with the existing classroom buildings. The brick coursing is organized into a patchwork motif which ties to the geologic formations in the San Gabriel foothills.