Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

January 2019   Houston, TX

Client

  • Houston ISD

Team

  • Gensler (prime)

Recognition

  • 2019, Landmark Awards, Education, Houston Business Journal

A new vibrant learning environment designed as a beacon of creativity

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Key Points

The design of Houstons first urban module high school incorporated flexible outdoor spaces and connections to surrounding transit systems.

Urban Educational Context

The project was the first urban module high school in Houston, with 5 stories dedicated to serving 750 students specializing in the arts disciplines with playful, natural elements scattered throughout.

Creative Play

The landscape elements created flexible urban spaces that allow students to interact with nature. Outdoor spaces such as stairs were designed to also become theater space.

Transit-Facing Landscape

The site was surrounded by a rail line and underground parking, making it important to create landscapes that both protected pedestrians and connected the building to the transit assets. Live oak trees at the edges of the lot were preserved as part of the strategy, while strategically supplementing them with new plantings.


Asakura Robinson was part of a team led by Gensler to build the first public school in Downtown Houston, the new campus for the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). The team designed and built a 5-story campus dedicated to serving 750 students specializing in the arts and included three theatres, a recital hall, and 16 soundproof practice rooms.

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One of the overarching themes of the project was to preserve the sense of community embedded among the students and faculty across departments, which made shared areas, such as the outdoor terraces, all the more important. ARC led on the landscape design elements, preserving and adding natural elements to the site for students and faculty to enjoy in the urban setting. The landscape elements were embedded along the perimeter of the property as well as on the terraces.


The landscape elements created flexible urban spaces that allow students to interact with nature. Outdoor spaces such as stairs were designed to also become theater space and gathering spaces for students. The site was surrounded by a rail line and underground parking, making it important to create landscapes that both protected pedestrians and connected the building to the transit assets. Live oak trees at the edges of the lot were preserved as part of the strategy, while strategically supplementing them with new plantings.

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San Antonio Trail Design January 2019   San Antonio, TX