Arizona High School Scores AIA Design Award

By Lisa Kopochinski

WADDELL, Ariz.—DLR Group, a firm providing architecture, engineering, planning, and interior design, recently received an Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects for its design of Canyon View High School in Waddell.

This prestigious national award honors innovative designs that inspire learners, educators, administrators, and communities and enhance modern pedagogy.

Completed in 2018, Canyon View High School spans 237,120 square feet for its 2,000 students and consists of flexible teaching environments reinforced by digital platforms for learning.

“Canyon View High School is a special campus,” said DLR Group Senior Principal Pam Loeffelman, FAIA, in a statement.

“The design is the framework that allows the district to blur the lines between ages and abilities and to deliver a truly one-of-a-kind learning experience for students and educators. DLR Group is especially honored to be recognized by our peers for design excellence that positively impacts student success.”

During the award review process, jurors noted, “the project hits on equity, health, and accessibility. Every indoor-outdoor space is a place for socializing, movement, gathering, performing, and creating as a community of learners.”

DLR Group noted that in its design, ownership of the classroom is transferred to the collective school, allowing faculty to rotate through learning spaces weekly and affording students the ability to explore academic interests and curriculum. Prior to occupying the campus, DLR Group implemented its BOLD (Bridging Organization Learning and Design) service, which is a facility activation process. This change effort led to universal buy-in to a vision for the campus, resulting in a shift in teaching practices that align with the physical environment.

To achieve this, DLR Group’s design emphasizes spatial flexibility and sustainability as primary means of fulfilling the district’s goals.

The new $75.6 million high school offers the opportunity to strengthen relationships, foster multiple pedagogies for individualized learning opportunities, and nurtures a culture that is student-focused and faculty-guided. Classes have the flexibility to be held in spaces designed to suit the learning of the moment and adjust when necessary.

“The new facility enables innovation and measurable advancements in teaching and learning. These spaces allow teachers to advance their professional skills, and students to examine coursework more deeply to develop collaborative opportunity with peers globally,” said Dr. Dennis Runyan, superintendent, Agua Fria Union High School District, in a statement.

Chasse Building Team Inc. was the general contractor on this impressive project.

DLR Group and Canyon View High School have also received additional industry and educational accolades since the campus opened in 2018. Honors include the coveted James D. MacConnell Award by the Association for Learning Environments in 2019, and design and research awards through the AIA Arizona chapter.