Cedar Ridge High School
Photo © Charles Davis Smith

CASE STUDY: Cedar Ridge High School, Round Rock, Texas, Perkins+Will

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Architect: Perkins+Will
CLIENT: Round Rock Independent School District

masonry: Featherlite, Pyramind, Blackson Brick
Metal/glass curtainwall:: Kawneer Co.
built-up roofng: Suprema Inc.
aluminum windows Reed Architectural Products

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Program: A two-story, 375,000-square-foot public high school divided into four academies: visual and performing arts; science, technology, engineering, and math; international business and professional studies; and the freshman program. The academies are lined up along the west side of a central courtyard; on the east side are a performing arts center, a cafeteria, a media center, and an athletic complex.

Design concept and solution: Envisioning Cedar Ridge as something like a graduate school, the architects wanted to foster the coziness of a close-knit academic department while creating ample gathering space. Students stay within their academy clusters on the west side of the courtyard and mix together in the cafeteria, theater, and other communal spaces on the east side. Flyover roofs span the courtyard to connect the tilt-up-concrete structures. The roofs provide shade and capture breezes, a strategy that harkens back to the dogtrot houses popular in 19th-century Texas. A covered walkway along the courtyard serves as a kind of porch for the rooms alongside it, from the cafeteria to the drama classroom, where students use the walk as an impromptu stage. The concrete on the interior and exterior is painted in neutral stone hues, with limestone veneer in the lobby and other public spaces to add regional flair.

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