Westfield High School

When the community supported WWS in their endeavor to address growing facility needs throughout the district with approval of a referendum, the largest allocation was put toward expanding the existing high school. Administrators saw this as an opportunity to not only address the needs of growing programs and an aging building, but to transform its education model and align the built environment with their pedagogical vision.

CSO studied existing facility use and programming information to quantify space utilization and projected student and program growth. Using CSO’s data, administrators decided to make the leap to a university model of education, allowing them to increase building efficiency and maximize the use of their budget to benefit as many parts of the building and programs as possible. In addition to this shift in space usage, WHS sought to accommodate growing demand for career ready programs, provide flexible areas for student use, and create spaces where students would want to spend time. All new and renovated spaces were designed to easily adapt to future program needs by minimizing built-in fixtures and maximizing use of mobile and flexible furniture. CSO worked closely with WHS to establish an aesthetic that mirrored the new educational direction with a high-tech, industrial feel while maintaining subtle touches that are distinctly Westfield.

The collaborative process between WHS and CSO and in-depth programming was critical to the success of this project. This approach allowed WHS to accomplish so much more than a traditional approach to projected growth would have allowed. The resultant custom tailored building will better support today’s students and staff in their endeavors and allow WHS to adapt to an unknown future much more readily and rapidly.

Imagination Lab

Plainfield Schools sought to repurpose a 17,000 square foot natatorium into an educational facility. Their goal was to create an innovative, inspiring, hands-on learning facility branded as the “Imagination Lab”. A team of a passionate educators were assembled to work with the design team. They worked together to establish the program and over-arching goals for the facility. In order to enhance the ability of the educators to envision the space, designers used virtual reality to allow educators to be “in” the spaces and provide amazing feedback that designers were able to build upon. The resulting design created an environment to empower students to think for themselves, imagine their futures, and grow the confidence, desire, and drive it takes to change the world.

A large lab space establishes the heart of the facility with supplementary spaces for focused means and methods of learning, building, creating, inventing, and investigating. At one end, a fabrication lab with sinks and work benches encourages hands on, messy work while two green rooms with cycloramas for video recording, two acoustically treated sound rooms for editing, and tables designed for collaboration around a computer are at the opposite end. A centrally focused gathering stair made of solid walnut planks provides an opportunity for speakers of all ages to present to large groups. Four Thinking Studios sit parallel to the lab and house artists-in-residence and encourage community vendors to provide an on-site learning experience. A Collaboration Corridor connects the Thinking Studios and the Lab. Flexible furniture provides options for various postures and group sizes as they work together to problem-solve, create, and learn. Operable glass partitions connect the corridor to the lab as well as connecting all of the thinking studios in order to create a large, open space supporting multiple functions.

Mobility was key as the needs and experiences change throughout the days, as do the ages of the students. The space comes to life with a wall graphic that captures the concept of the flow of learning. The mission of the Imagination Lab was to empower students to think for themselves, imagine their futures, and grow the confidence, desire, and drive it takes to change the world. The District will tell you: mission accomplished.

American Red Cross Indiana Region Headquarters

Through collaboration and funding with the City of Indianapolis, and donor support, Red Cross was able to achieve their goal of building a new, more efficient headquarters. The new building’s reduced footprint and efficient use of space allows the American Red Cross (ARC) to commit more dollars to what they do best: always being there in times of need. Flexible training rooms, a community center, teaming areas, local office spaces, and huddle spaces encapsulate the programs within the headquarters, creating an environment that promotes interaction where employees and volunteers feel energized and accommodated. Employees are not assigned desks or specific work spaces so the design of the facility is very flexible and adaptable. Amenities include a rooftop terrace that creates a respite and wellness destination, and a coffee house that connects and creates community.

The building is extremely sustainable, with the exterior wrapped in red brick, seamlessly blending in with the surrounding architectural aesthetic. The headquarters has large windows that welcome natural light creating a community-oriented atmosphere and providing views of the surrounding neighborhood of downtown Indianapolis. In addition, a key branding focal point is incorporated on the interior corridor that displays historical Red Cross artifacts, local to Indianapolis. The iconic, ARC-branded “red” is carried throughout the headquarters. The American Red Cross new Indiana Regional Headquarters is the first Red Cross facility to reflect new design standards developed for the organization by Perkins + Will.
Photography: © James Steinkamp

Cathedral High School Innovation Center

The Innovation Center would continue to strengthen the commitment to a flexible and focused learning environment, emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Learning Studios. The goal would be to encourage and promote a collaborative experience in all of the learning spaces, and provide a more open, group-oriented Science area, de-emphasizing compartmentalized education and promoting group and team learning across several disciplines. Plans for the open Science area include several laboratories in the same space allowing a more efficient teaching model, while providing enhanced interaction.

An informal study area and open faculty areas promote additional interaction between the faculty and students, faculty and faculty, and student to student. The proximity and accessibility of the faculty is purposeful. However, break out rooms and small group rooms would provide for one on one meetings or private conversations. The learning spaces are intentionally transparent as well as flexible in order to adapt to the changing use of the space and the continued connection to the learning environments.

The Innovation Center would also contain the relocated dining and kitchen space in the lower level, allowing students a more flexible approach to food service and more options to the traditional lunch period.  An additional Café would also allow students to utilize a “grab-n-go” concept during the day. The relocation of the campus cafeteria creates a destination for students during the course of the day, while also creating informal interaction areas in the adjacent spaces.  Additionally, a new Cathedral Spirit Shop will be located near the cafeteria in a prominent location for both students and visiting parents/alumni.

Architecturally, The Innovation Center will create a new “front door” to campus.  The center is an addition to Kelly Hall and will be featured on the courtyard between the existing Student Life Center (SLC) and Loretta Hall.  The new addition will incorporate a three-story open atrium between the old Kelly Hall and the architecture of the new addition.  Exterior materials used on the addition are blonde brick (same used on SLC), glass, metal panel and stone veneer panels.  The old limestone façade of Kelly Hall will be preserved and will be the feature of the new, glass-enclosed front entrance.