The LEED Gold certified e3 Civic High—which stands for "Engage, Educate and Empower"—is creatively co-located inside a downtown San Diego public library in a unique, collaborative setting. While library patrons don't have access to the school, they can catch a glimpse inside the project-based educational environment as they ride a glass elevator through the building's sixth and seventh floors.

The transparent design and unique location, which capitalizes on the library's existing infrastructure, was chosen to foster team-based, experiential-learning opportunities with the help of movable glass walls, modular furniture, a demonstration kitchen, break-out learning spaces and a plaza area for assemblies and dining.

LPA engaged the community in the design process through workshops, charettes, image sharing and building tours to help promote the school's partnership with the city and library foundation in linking education into the urban culture. Additional design highlights include a "living room" setting, called the Park, with comfortable furniture and controllable lighting; a central staircase, which doubles as a social learning space; an interactive wall that students can write on, display projects and sit on; and a centrally-located gallery lined with whiteboard surfaces and specialty lighting where students can share their work. In 2015, e3 Civic High was recognized with design awards by the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) / AIA California Chapter (AIACC), the AIA Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA CAE) and local AIA chapters.

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Project Details

  • Completed in 2013
  • San Diego, CA
  • 70,000-square-foot school
  • LEED Gold certified
  • Located in San Diego Central Library
  • AIA CAE award winner
  • CASH/AIACC award winner

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