Carnegie Vanguard High School

October 2012   Houston, TX

Client

  • Houston Independent School District

Team

  • RdlR Architects, Inc.
  • Klotz Associates

A sustainable landscape for a local high school that creates unique spaces for outdoor learning, lunchtime gathering, and socializing on campus.

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Key Points

One of Houston's most storied high schools gets a new home in one of Houston's most storied neighborhoods.

Accessibility

The school’s green space provides much needed recreational for the surrounding urban community. A collaborative agreement was developed between the HISD, the City of Houston, and the Fourth Ward Management District, for the use of the school’s green space.

Social Spaces

The main courtyard is designed for students to congregate in small or large groups. The second courtyard is developed as an amphitheatre and outdoor dining area.

Sustainable Design

Sustainable landscape features include edible gardens, rainwater harvesting tanks, native and drought tolerant plantings, low-water irrigation systems relying solely on rainwater, and two roof gardens that serve as classroom space and reducing heat island effect.


The Carnegie Vanguard High School was designed and constructed with the goal to create a “school as an interactive place for talent development and support the act of learning”. With over 600 students, the top tier performing arts school moved to a new location in the historic Fourth Ward near Downtown Houston. The site includes an existing historic Settegast building which was re-purposed as the fine arts complex for the school.

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Asakura Robinson’s design approach advanced the feedback received from the active parent and student body: linking indoor and outdoor spaces, and demonstrating good stewardship of the environment and energy conservation. Other priorities included LEED certification, adding more space for theater and fine arts, and preserving green space.


The landscape features a central courtyard, an amphitheater, neighborhood access points, pedestrian sidewalks, a baseball field, community gardens, and roof garden. Views and pedestrian connections to downtown and the surrounding Fourth Ward are highlighted throughout the landscape. Sustainable landscape features include edible gardens, rainwater harvesting tanks, native and drought tolerant plantings, low-water irrigation systems relying solely on rainwater, and two roof gardens that serve as classroom space and reducing heat island effect.

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MD Anderson Prairie July 2012   Houston, TX