Corona del mar middle school enclave, Newport beach, USA

Corona del mar middle school enclave, Newport beach, USA


This new high-tech facility complements an existing school complex in Newport Beach, California, providing additional classrooms, science labs, and lecture space and creating a much-needed sheltered enclave for middle-school students within the high-school campus. Designed by Dougherty & Dougherty Architects, the staggered, three-story building encloses a landscaped courtyard from which a number of interconnected staircases, ramps, and access corridors lead to the various facilities in the form of a promenade architecturale. An integral part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy aimed at LEED Gold certification, the architects devised a rain screen façade clad in Swisspearl panels, which will boost the building’s energy performance and help keep long-term maintenance costs to a minimum. Though adopting the geometrical clarity and rectangularity of the mid-century campus, the new facility contrasts sharply with the texture and color scheme of the existing brick structures by displaying a combination of exposed steel columns, smooth concrete surfaces, and Swisspearl paneling.


©Nils Timm


Large sections of the cladding on the two upper levels feature a chessboard pattern of perforations, softening the monolithic appearance of the building by day whilst dissolving it almost entirely when backlit at night. The perforations were chosen for functional as well as aesthetic reasons. For one, they allow sufficient airflow into the enclosed spaces to comply with local building code requirements for non-fire rated external egress balconies. More importantly, they mark out a series of sheltered gathering zones along the circulation route, animated by a continuously shifting shading pattern and maintaining a visual connection to the central courtyard at the heart of the enclave.


©Nils Timm


Key Facts

2101 Eastbluff Drive


Newport-Mesa Unified School District


Dougherty & Dougherty, Costa Mesa (CA)


Building period


Façade contractor
Cal Pac Sheet Metal Inc., Santa Ana (CA)


Nils Timm


Façade material
Swisspearl large size, Carat Azurite 7043 and Xpressiv Yellow 8080


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