Country Day dedicates arts, science center


La Jolla Country Day school students are learning art and science in a new building this year, one that brings the two disciplines to the forefront through their design.

In an interview last week, Chris Schuck, the head of the school, described the new Visual Arts and Science Center as “vibrant and gorgeous,” transforming the heart of the campus. The 2600-square-foot building, housing classrooms, studios and labs, is the third addition to the 24-acre campus in the last three years.

He said the purpose of the building is to create “good solid spaces that meet immediate needs,” a place where students can converge in one place to learn about biology, chemistry, physics, as well as painting, ceramic, digital arts, and graphic design.

On Wednesday, students and school officials showcased the center with an afternoon dedication. Students performed a short program, Schuck and Director of Trustees Don Ings gave short addresses, and everyone attending had a chance to tour the facilities.

Local inspiration

School officials said they took their inspiration for combining the arts and sciences from Jolla’s long history of combining the two specialties in such examples as The Institute of Museum of Contemporary Arts and the Calit2@UCSD Building.

The design is also intended to break up the classic boundaries and encourage new forms of synergy between the two disciplines, they said.

Schuck described the center as a “teaching tool in itself” where students not only learn about the arts and natural sciences, but through the building’s features also learn the tangible importance of conservation.

Designed by the architectural firm Carrier Johnson, the building gives a decided nod to energy efficiency and sustainability. The architects paid attention to such details as the use of waste water and natural air throughout the building.

It will use the ocean breeze to ventilate the two floors, avoiding the use of air conditioning, as well as the use of solar energy to convert into electricity for the building.

Art in building

Rina Kabilijo, one of the team of designers on the project, described the art portion of the building with “a glass wall on the north side allowing plenty of natural light to shine into the studios” reducing the need for the electric lighting in the rooms.

Beside the sustainable features, there are plenty of teaching tools throughout the building. There is a televised display allowing students to track energy conservation in real time as the result of the photovoltaic panels and its use of solar energy.

And there’s a pendulum on the ceiling in the physics building, designed by physics teacher Billy Simms, a 35-year veteran at the campus, that he uses to teach the laws of motion.