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Cardiff School

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With its picturesque beachside setting, the Cardiff School yearned for a campus design that would better harness the ocean views and gentle breezes and maximize outdoor learning space.  Located on a site sloping down to the iconic San Elijo State Beach,  this grade K-2 school included the modernization of two existing buildings and construction of 7 new one-story buildings gently terracing down the hillside.  Other improvements included new play areas, outdoor learning courtyards, new parking lot and drop-off, amphitheater, and a lunch shelter.

 Using the concept of a breakwater, the perimeter buildings utilize a neutral exterior along the street, punctuated with large dormer windows that both bring natural daylight into the classrooms and conceal mechanical units from view. On the interior side of campus, buildings are painted in the bright blue hues of the ocean, creating a cheerfulness and energy reflective of the students and ripe for learning.  Trees taken down in construction were repurposed into log benches and incorporated into the courtyards along with coastal landscaping and boulders for informal outdoor learning.

 The new campus plan also sought to improve circulation flow, security and supervision.  Care was taken to alleviate neighborhood traffic by elongating the parking and drop off area, which served to pull queuing cars onto campus and off adjacent residential streets. The multi-purpose room was repositioned to the front of the school where it has direct access to parking and the joint use open space  for events.  This location allowed the multi-purpose building to sit lower on the site, appearing from the street to match the adjacent administration building in height, while providing an airy volume within. Other interventions included locating the after-school program classrooms on the perimeter of campus for more efficient pick-up and situating the food service building at the heart of the campus. Strategically located adjacent to the playfields, its ample lunch area is shaded by a dynamic canopy with exposed structure and serves a central gathering space for students.

1888 Montgomery Ave, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

Project Owner/Developer:
Cardiff School District

Contact Name/Email:
Randy Peterson / csdbpm@gmail.com

Project Architect/Designer:
Studio E Architects

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