On a sunny afternoon in Pasadena, California, an energetic sixth grader runs between the ginkgo trees in the large circular courtyard of Blair International Baccalaureate Middle School. Asked what he likes best about it, he stops, stretches, and replies, 'The shape. It's fun.'
At first glance, the new building by GKKWorks seems to be thoroughly modern, with lots of curves and openness, transparency modulated by fritted glass, and a taut and colorful skin of concrete rainscreen panels over a steel moment frame. It has earned LEED Silver certification. But a closer look reveals that those seemingly organic curves'or fun shapes'originate in a rigorously symmetrical axial plan.