Alliance Health Services Academy is a new, three-story charter high school located in South Los Angeles commissioned by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. It will replace an existing facility in order to meet the needs of the school’s growing student population. The school’s mission is to equip students in South Los Angeles with the tools necessary to excel in high school, to prepare them to enter and succeed in college, and to motivate them to select health care related majors and careers – areas where minority students like those in the school community are grossly underrepresented. The program includes 22 classrooms, two science labs, and a multipurpose room along with administrative office and supporting spaces.
Working within unique constraints set by existing site conditions, the design aims to maximize use of limited square footage with both interior and exterior spaces and provide a unique environment that brings a sense of identity to the students, faculty and community. These goals can be seen in the overall layout of the spaces and the unique treatment of the façade.
The development of the façade was inspired the work of Pierre Soulages, who incorporated striped patterns of varying angles and paths into his stained glass installations. As this idea developed, the client and designers noted that the façade is also reminiscent of Razzle Dazzle camouflage strategies developed for ships During World War I to disrupt one’s ability to predict their course or trajectory. This is a fitting analogy, as students may be confronted with expectations or a lack of expectations and may be working against what others have predicted for them. The design will encourage students to chart their own path, exceed expectations and take control of their own destiny.