Jonas Salk School

Jonas Salk School
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Los Angeles, California

Modernization and Addition to Jonas Salk School


This 7,800 square foot circular building designed in the 60’s by Carmichael Kemp Architects was facing demolition.  The original design created an amphitheater/courtyard that served as an exterior multipurpose space.  The building had wood-framed folded plate roofs, masonry shear walls on the courtyard side and fully glazed exterior walls.

For the modernization portion of the project the existing ceiling and roof, designed low for elementary kids, were removed and replaced with steel-frame construction; the masonry walls were extended a couple of feet and topped with a curved, tapered standing seam metal roof to fit the circular floor plan, which provided additional space for insulation and the mechanical system.  The old plexiglass steel windows were replaced with aluminum storefront system, metal spandrel panels, and double glazing for energy efficiency.

This 4,000 square foot addition was approved by the State for three additional classrooms, and the school wanted to use them for community meetings and presentations after regular school hours.  The building is divided by folded partitions to achieve the intended flexibility.  The typology of the building honors the original design by carrying over the circular scheme and responding contextually by the use of a similar brick masonry block matching in color, texture and size.  The complex appearance is changed by the use of an exposed tubular steel truss system, an integrated ceiling/roof deck with a high acoustical value, curved metal roofing, and clerestory windows on the north for natural daylight.  The south side is layered by a stainless steel mesh wall that announces the entry point, creates a soft transition to and provides shade to a secondary wall of stainless steel spandrel panels and Kalwall panels; these translucent materials provide diffused natural light in the multipurpose space.  The interior spaces are further controlled by daylight sensors, occupancy sensors, Lutron lighting controls, and mechanically integrated temperature controls for minimized energy consumption.




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