Caledonia High School


GMB’s charge from the client was two-fold. Design should respect this philosophy: Safety, Order & Basics, and organize a building so as to separate primary functions, create identity, and provide acoustical separation. The facility is conceptually based on basics by respecting classical education/academics. The party expands to celebrate 21st century relevancy interwoven within a classical foundation. Understanding the roots of formal education lead to the story of Plato’s father who received a parcel of land from a man named Academes. Adjacent to this land was an olive grove known as the “Olive Groves of Academia.” Academes donated this land to Plato where he developed a learning center to study “form” and “phenomenon.” He labeled this learning center the Academy in honor of Academes. From this has developed today’s labeling of the educational world as the “Groves of Academia.” Caledonia High School is organized into three separate classical Centers of education; Mind, Body, and Soul, which are represented by departments of Academics, Athletics, and Arts. Each Center is accessed from a single circulatory spine. The spine is warped providing the Centers with focal vistas towards an existing grove of trees on our site. This organization allows for Caledonia High School to encompass this natural area, suggesting its own “Groves of Academia.”

Order and identity are promoted at each Center by alignment of their “iconic” public functions adjacent to the circulatory spine with support spaces subordinate. Plato’s Academy thrived in debate and discussion. Similarly, Caledonia’s staff are presented as resources in lieu of lecturers. Hence, Staff Planning spaces are not detailed as an area of refuge from students, but rather positioned immediate to the circulatory spine, enhancing entry into each classroom wing. This location is a conscious attempt to represent a model of collaborative learning, be a resource to students, and enhance safety with a continuous presence. The facilities Administration and Counseling are similarly adjacent to the spine, core to the Academic Center. Again, their location reinforces all staff as mentors and resources to the students, rather than the traditional “guard” position adjacent to the front door.

The facades and interior public nodes of the Centers are organized with an interpretive use of classical details. The circulatory spine of glass and steel ties the “classical” Centers together. The sciences are organized within the academic core which binds the classroom wings together. Their facades incorporate traditional brick in a non-traditional “grid” pattern, also inferring the infusion of 21st century sciences into the classical foundation.



  • ABC Masonry "ABC Masonry Award 2005" 2005
  • ABC Structural Steel "ABC Structural Steel Award 2005" 2005


  • 1,300 Students
  • 1,000 Seat Auditorium
  • 3,000 Seat Competition Gymnasium
  • 290,000 SF


$34.8 Million


Completed in August 2004