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The College Preparatory School

Teaching Through Building

A new academic building fosters a sustainable, inclusive campus.

Mission Driven Design

The College Preparatory School (CPS) is known for its forward-looking mission, one that encompasses environmental stewardship and community engagement. Tucked within Oakland’s hilly Rockridge neighborhood, the independent high school has long demanded a level of innovation to make the most of its sloping topography and wooded grounds. The brief for JENSEN, to replace outdated portable classrooms with a modern academic building, ultimately unlocked broader opportunities to advance CPS’s vision for a sustainable campus that teaches by example.

College Prep Aerial Perspective
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Campus Heart

With the completion of this expansion, the entire campus gains a heightened sense of place. A modern take on Oakland’s shingled bungalows, the two-story building nests thoughtfully into the hillside and recenters the campus around a renovated central courtyard. At the ground level, the student lounge, admissions center, and restrooms activate this new commons. Above, a wider floorplate afforded by the sloping hillside accommodates eight classrooms, an IT lab, and faculty offices. On sunny days all of this activity spills out into terraced outdoor flexspaces, one featuring artist Ali Ebektar’s hand-made tile mural, Luminous Ground. A strategically situated elevator and grand stair complete a connectivity loop uniting the entire multi-level campus for all.

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All Electric, Zero Net Energy

Achieving net-zero energy performance began with optimizing passive design strategies. Clerestories, operable windows, and overhangs enable passively ventilated and naturally lit classrooms and learning spaces — healthy environments where students, teachers, and administrators can do their best work. High-performing building insulation above and robust concrete foundations and retaining walls below buffer the building from heat and cold. With these measures in place, the rooftop photovoltaic system easily covers the demands of the building’s VRF heating and cooling system, hot water and other electrical needs and eliminates the need for fossil fuels.

College Prep Sustainability Diagram
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Purpose-Built Classrooms

In the classroom, CPS’s teachers emphasize collaboration, interaction and curiosity, and also understand how a flexible, light-filled space can benefit learning. To support these practices, JENSEN wrapped the classroom in an active band composed of white boards, pin-up space, and flat screens. Where the band gives way to windows, an extended custom wood cabinet stretches the length of room, concealing supplies and materials as well as network, audiovisual, and air conditioning equipment. Acoustic ceiling panels anticipate excited and enthusiastic discussions.

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First Floor Plan Labeled
Type
Education
Client
The College Preparatory School
Location
Oakland

Sustainability

Net-Zero Building

Architects

Project Leads
Mark Jensen
Steven Huegli
Project Team
Chris Kalos
Sean Niu
Hyona Lim
Jennifer Redel

Consultants

Landscape
Lutsko Associates
Structural
Holmes
Civil
BKF Engineers
Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing
Engineering 350
Environmental Engineer
Atelier Ten
Surveyor
BKF Engineers
Public Art Installation
Ala Ebtekar

Contractor

Contractor
Overaa Construction
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