Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School

Full Title: 
Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School
Los Angeles, California
211,000 GSF for six buildings; 115,000 GSF parking/play structures
Balances the need for a safe and secure learning environment while embracing the neighborhood with a symbol of hope and aspiration;
Serves 2,025 students with 75 graded classrooms, performance spaces, a library, dining facilities, two gyms, and several play fields and courts;
The siting and massing of the project, as well as the color and detail of the design, were developed considering the fabric and scale of the surrounding neighborhood

The newly named Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School relieves severe overcrowding in a previously underserved urban neighborhood. The campus consists of four learning academies—or “learning communities”—serving 2,025 students with classrooms, science labs, and dedicated administrative space. The three inaugural academies include: The Fine & Performing Arts Academy, Global Issues Academy, and The Synergy Quantum Academy. 


Shared facilities include: performing arts classrooms, a library, multi-purpose room, two gymnasiums, a variety of playfields and courts, foodservice and lunch shelter, administrative support services, playfields, and subterranean parking under basketball courts.


In response to the desire to make the school a place of safety and belonging, the site is organized based on a small village or town. At the westernmost portion of the site—connecting to the main plaza by a winding covered walkway—are the Small Learning Communities. These are treated like the ‘residential neighborhoods’ of the village. They are designed as three-story structures, each adjacent to a dedicated open space. A variety of open spaces with landscaping and seating provide students with safe outdoor spaces to study and socialize.