Ratima Pisalyaput

Ratima Pisalyaput

Brooklyn, NY, US


Downtown LA High School

Main Program:
Park/Gathering Spaces, Classrooms, Football Field, Swimming Pool,Track, Retail/Cafes


Downtown Los Angeles is a car driven, predominantly horizontal urban city, stitching districts together to create a diverse set of experiences: presenting a live-work lifestyle, corporate towers, dispersed nightlife entertainment, art warehouse districts whole-in-the-wall shops, etc. Seemingly equipped with almost any program possible, and explored amongst the vertical tower realm, downtown LA lacks an investigation into true community components that can bring the city together on a local level: park space + schools. As schools are constantly struggling with overcrowding, children are suffering due to the insufficient educational environments. The downtown Los Angeles context leaves no room for expansion that schools require.

The premise of this thesis is to push the boundaries of a vertical high school, accommodating to the dense urban fabric of downtown, but still allowing for expansive gathering and community spaces to for the learning environment. I focused on the parking garage and the determination to redefine its boring, heavy solid concrete form.  This defines the parking garage as a park: more of a gathering, habitable landscape infused with “afterschool” hang out culture of high school life. Rather than making parking a component separate from the high school, it will be seamlessly integrated as a continuous vital factor in redefining gathering space for the high school students in downtown LA.

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Status: School Project
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA