Modular Schools—Campus

Quelling the “Invasion of the Campus Snatchers.”

Los Angeles, CA

In the last thirty years, we who have been to school, sent our kids to school, or worked in a school, all stand as witnesses to the occupation of our playing fields, quadrangles, and parking lots by a flotilla of modular classrooms. Although campuses across our education system are unique reflections of place and pedagogy, the result of the deployment of trailers on the learning environment–-both in the classroom and on campus—is a pervasive provisionality.

That said, perhaps the modular is “almost all right.” As a solution it might be,

  • Adaptable, but it is not accommodating
  • Speedy, but not sustainable
  • Viable, but not valuable.

Our approach to the Los Angeles United School District’s (LAUSD) call for a system-wide alternative strategy for new charter schools and existing needs is to accept the modular as a starting point, but to introduce subtle and intelligent modifications.

The district ran two competitions in tandem, one for a 6,000 to 8,000 sf building and one for a 25,000 sf charter school. We addressed this dauntingly large undertaking by simultaneously looking at the scale of the classroom, as well as the campus. Looking at the project “urbanistically” the aim was to use our modified modulars as building blocks that could contribute to shared outdoor spaces that make a campus.

Project Info

  • Design 2010 (competition)
  • Size 6,000 sf and 25,000k sf
  • Collaborators Samuel Scheibel, Courtney Mack, Matthew Sander, Huzefa Irfani with RCCo