A community-oriented middle school designed to prepare tomorrow's leaders

Pasadena Unified School District, Blair International Baccalaureate Middle School, Pasadena, California

Blair Middle School is an 800-student facility located in the Pasadena Unified School District and is part of a larger campus that shares gymnasium and support services with Blair High School. The sixth-through-eighth-grade facility includes universal classrooms, science classrooms with lab support spaces, a multi-purpose space, a large art classroom, food service and administrative offices.

The design creates a safe and community-oriented environment that fosters responsibility and respect within the student body—preparing students for the rigors and challenges of high school. The planning began with the community courtyard that invites interaction and collaboration among students. A “home away from home,” the middle school’s configuration creates a community within itself, giving the educational environment a distinct space separate from the outside world.

“Universal classrooms” enable instruction from both an informal and formal setting within a multi-team structure; the ability to change viewing direction and fully use the whole room to adjust to variable classroom environments stimulates learning. The classrooms have large floor-to-ceiling windows, giving balanced light to the interior—a relief from the traditional classroom interior.