University High School of Indiana Carmel, Indiana

Firm: OWP/P

Design team: Richard H. Dewar, AIA, Project Director; Kerry Leonard, AIA, Educational Planner; Trung Le, AIA, Project Designer; Mark N. Cabrinha, AIA, Project Architect; Wendy M. Watts, Interior Designer; David R. Bibbs, SE, CEM, Structural Engineer; William J. Kosik, PE, CEM, Engineer (HVAC)

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Client: University High School; Chuck Webster, Head of School

Area: 205,000 sq. ft.

Total cost: $28.7 million

Seeking to create an educational environment where students can become the “best version of themselves,” this master plan calls for an academic village that provides for individual learning programs and establishes a community for learning. Designed to house 400 to 500 students, the high school was planned to be developed in three phases: academic/community wing; fine-arts center and auditorium; and athletic area. Two circular geometries link disconnected areas of the 86-acre site.

The body houses public functions: the cafeteria doubles as a gathering area for community and school. The “agora,” a black-box theater, was designed for all-school meetings every morning to encourage exchange of ideas.

In the intersecting academic wing, flexible areas between classrooms accommodate advanced senior research projects and individualized mentoring sessions that promote lifelong learning.

Designed to use existing wetlands and prevailing winds for cooling, maximum daylighting and a hybrid ventilation system for energy efficiency, this school reflects the client's vision of academic excellence and stewardship of the land.

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