San Mateo High School Project Wins Modernization Award

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Santa Rosa-based Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) was recently honored with the Leroy F. Greene Design and Planning Award — as well as an Award of Excellence in the Modernization category — for its San Mateo High School Old Brick Studio project, completed for the San Mateo Union High School District (SMUHSD) in August 2015. Both awards were given by the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.) in partnership with the American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC) at the 37th Annual C.A.S.H. Conference on Feb. 23 in Sacramento.

Originally constructed in the 1920s as a Shops Building, SMUHSD’s “Old Brick Studio” was in dire need of restoration and renovation. The historic, but long neglected, structure on the San Mateo High School campus had over the years fallen into disrepair.

Making use of the centrally located building’s vastness, northern clerestory light and industrial materials — including original brick and concrete — QKA re-envisioned the building to provide art studios, general education classrooms and large meeting spaces. The new and improved 20,000-square-foot building been seismically upgraded throughout, historically restored on the exterior, and enhanced with new technology and modern amenities, including the ability to function as a black box theater for student and community performances. The project achieved high Collaborative for High Performance School scores for reuse, conservation, restoration of existing materials, sustainable new materials and natural light and ventilation.

“As architects, it all comes together for us when we have the opportunity to design modernizations and restorations of historic buildings,” said QKA Principal Mark Quattrocchi in a statement. “Having worked on the San Mateo High School campus previously as well as other sites throughout the district, it was a thrill to collaborate with our colleagues and friends to bring this previous vocational shops building —the last remaining original building on campus — to modern use for today’s students and staff. The abundance of natural light and original high ceilings makes the building an ideal space for art studios, large group meetings and performances.”

The purpose of the Leroy F. Greene Design and Planning Awards Program is to enhance the educational programs available to California public school students by recognizing exceptional architectural and program implementation in the design of public school facilities, according to a statement by QKA. Nominated projects are evaluated based on planning process, learning environment of the facility, design, community environment, physical environment, and the role of high performance/sustainability in the planning and design of the project.