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With students constantly being caught gazing dreamily out of the classroom window, a concept like the Culver City Middle School is pretty ingenious. The goal of this project is not to create architectural blinders so that kids pay attention, but rather to integrate the outdoor environment with the lesson of the day.
Kaveh Arbab has designed a dynamic building that you might not have expected from such a square plan. Wrapped around a central courtyard, the floor planes cascade down to form ramps and landings to act as classrooms, libraries and areas for social gathering, all enclosed by expansive curtain wall fenestration. But even with this usual use of vertical space, none is wasted. One ditch below the Culver City Middle School’s science wing houses an indoor-outdoor laboratory.