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Thrive Public School

San Diego, CA

Sited on a snug one-acre parcel adjacent to Tecolote Canyon in the heart of the Linda Vista community, Thrive Public School was an exercise in how to do a lot with a little. Destined to be an important player in the community, the new building had to strike a civic presence while balancing the safety and security needs of the students. The building proudly owns the street intersection with a welcoming porch that provides a gathering space for parents and staff to greet students. The highly efficient 3-level building design nestles into the sloping site, leaving as much space as possible for outdoor play areas and allowing for two "ground" floors – one with access to the street corner and one to the protected playground overlooking the canyon.

The compact building plan organizes learning spaces around a central gallery with nooks for informal gathering, walls for display of student work and large windows to draw light into the classrooms while provide panomramic views of the canyon beyond. Classrooms are paired to promote group learning. An eight-foot-wide opening with sliding barn door provides access between the rooms. In addition – each pair of classrooms share a collaboration space which can be used as a break-out area for quiet learning or small group work.

A bright (orange!) open stair connects all three levels of the school and brings daylight deep into a flexible basement space used for project-based learning activities. Exterior learning and project work spaces are provided on each level of the school expanding the the ususble square footage while taking advantage of San Diego’s comfortable climate. 


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