The Lakewood High School campus embodies the great history of the surrounding planned community of Lakewood. Built in the post-war era, the neighborhood featured post-modernist architectural trends, with surrounding houses built in the prairie style popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright and included a similar vision for the high school.

Designed by Architect Hugh Gibbs in the late 1950s, most of the campus reflects the long thin lines of postwar modernism and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

StudioWC looked at designing this new aquatic center through this lens. The addition is respectful of the 1950s modernist style and the 1990s unrestricted and experimental style, yet gracefully moves the campus into the future.

The full project scope includes a new 51.5 M x 25-yard Myrtha pool and pool deck with bleacher seating for 500, a new aquatic center featuring a snack bar/ticket booth and gender-neutral locker facilities, and the relocation of softball fields, tennis and hardcourts to accommodate the new complex.

Located in the south-west corner, adjacent to the south parking lot and athletic fields, the new aquatic center complex is an opportunity to create a sense of balance currently missing on this end of campus. One of the site’s most significant architectural bodies of work, the large, brutalist-style auditorium building, north of the proposed aquatic center location, towers over the adjacent low profile 300 Commerce and Science Building.

The function of the aquatic center buildings lends itself to a lower-profile roof, complimenting the north-west structure and providing the much needed balance for this elevation. The required program spaces are separated into two main components of “end-user” versus “support”, providing a sense of front and back of house. Located between the northern and southern buildings, the pool maximizes the full daytime sun sweep and locates the bleachers and shade structure to the west, avoiding afternoon glare.

StudioWC Steps In

StudioWC is constructing this new aquatic center on the Lakewood High School campus. A high-profile, multi-phased project, it includes portable classroom relocation, a new athletic court layout, new softball fields, and an aquatic center. The brand-new center is comprised of a gender-inclusive locker room facility, a ticket booth and concessions building, a mechanical and storage building, restrooms, covered spectator bleachers, and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The locker-room building features a multi-purpose classroom, utility spaces, restrooms, coach offices, and three designated changing areas, complete with individual combination changing and shower stalls for gender-specific and all-gender use.

StudioWC has collaborated extensively with District staff during the design of this new modern space, giving detailed attention to ensure the safety and privacy of students, yet still maintaining the goal of inclusivity.

We recognized the historic nature of the existing architectural style of the Lakewood campus. SWC intends to wed the aesthetics of the pool complex and all supporting facilities into the Post-War-Modernist style architecture of the existing campus, while keeping an eye towards the opportunity to integrate some contemporary elements. The goal of the team is to ensure that the complex continues to support the championship sports program that is the pride of LBUSD.

Merging recognizable elements of campus pride throughout the aquatic center design, will further instill a sense of belonging and creating a strong connection with the existing campus for students, staff and community.

Designing an outdoor pool is very different than designing one for an indoor facility which this campus population had gotten accustomed to. Many different features must be considered, including wind and sun angles and protection, swim meet times, as well as separate and secure access for visitors and students. We were also interested in exercising the opportunity for electrical solar and/or thermal solar for pool heating. These considerations coupled with SWC’s experience made our team the best selection for this project.