The Archer School For Girls

Los Angeles

BEST PROJECT and PROJECT OF THE YEAR FINALIST

KEY PLAYERS

OWNER: The Archer School for Girls

LEAD DESIGN FIRM: Parallax Associates Inc.

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: MATT Construction

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: KPFF Consulting Engineers

SUBCONTRACTORS: Historic Resources Group


Students at the independent college prep school received a unique lesson in construction planning and execution via the complex three-phase project that brings the historic campus into the 21st century. To keep the school operational, the project team first constructed a temporary modular village connected to the main 1930s-era building via a pedestrian bridge over the main driveway. Two houses on adjacent properties were demolished to make way for 30 temporary state-of-the-art classrooms, including specialized spaces for student collaboration and cross-disciplinary projects.

Archer School for Girls

Photo by Benny Chan

In the centerpiece second phase, the historic building’s North Wing was demolished and reconstructed while the remainder of the building remained safely operational. The new three-level U-shaped wing contains a hydraulic elevator, a full commercial kitchen, classrooms, offices, a dance studio and two courtyards, one of which contains a 75-seat courtyard amphitheater for outdoor instruction and special events. Concrete pours for the amphitheater received special attention to ensure a quality appearance and long-lasting durability. 

Archer School for Girls

Photo by Benny Chan

Phase 3 included a soccer field, baseball diamond, sports court, irrigation upgrades and a new fire protection system in the historic building. Despite the intricate phasing and additional safety measures, all work was completed on schedule.

To ensure new construction was compatible with the historic character of the Archer School’s existing 1931 building, the team worked closely with the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources and the Historic Resources Group in Pasadena. The exterior facade of the reconstructed North Wing was broken up with two highly visible curtain wall systems and a unique decorative metal geometric design to frame views to the exterior and tie in the historic building’s distinctive plaster design.

Archer School for Girls

Photo by Benny Chan

Along with keeping students, faculty and staff safe using barricades and traffic control measures, the construction team had to be sensitive to the surrounding community. To mitigate construction noise, the team installed 16-ft and 24-ft sound walls on shoring piles around the site perimeter of the site. Purchasing the sound walls instead of renting provided a cost saving opportunity as the panels were returned to the manufacturer at the end of the project and the investment refunded to the school.