Andrew Hill High School

Courtyard Modernization

The purpose of the Andrew Hill Courtyard Modernization was to renovate the 1960’s existing courtyard, a run-down and mostly unshaded space. Our goal was to create an urban park that would support various activities, such as spirit rallies, assemblies, theater performances, concerts, and outdoor learning, as well as informal socializing, reading, and small-group projects.  We created a new, larger stage and centered it lengthwise in the courtyard. At either end of the courtyard, are two rock gardens – learning spaces with seat walls, landscape and boulders – that allow for classroom-style engagement and a designated café area with tables and chairs in a tree canopy for student interaction.

Because of the intense heat and sunshine, we incorporated a cable-weave. The shade created by the cable-weave is improved by student created hanging “leaves.” The steel structure required to support the cable allowed us to create a backdrop for the stage, giving us an opportunity to create public art using cut steel panels.  Workshops with the student site council led to selecting the image (cut into the panels) of looking up into a redwood grove.

We also made modest improvements to a secondary courtyard and the maintenance area.  Where we removed 13 portables and reduced maintenance and storage areas, we created an informal plaza, using graphics, art, and paint to claim the space for outdoor learning and student circulation.