New Vista High School Design Competition Entry

A community-forward design with a net-zero approach provides the New Vista community with a facility reflective of their non-traditional philosophy to learning.

65,000 SF


Boulder, CO

$30M (budget)

Boulder Valley School District

AMD embarked on a design competition for an engaging, agile, and sustainable 21st-century learning environment for BVSD's New Vista High School. In an aging building suited only to traditional lecture-style classrooms, AMD's design proposal amplified the school's mission of innovative learning practices. The New Vista educational approach relies upon a deeply invested school community, where personal relationships form the foundation of academic outcomes. Our proposed design responds to this culture by integrating places throughout the building for personal connection: collaboration spaces, small group huddle areas, and one-on-one conversation nooks create a sense of intimacy and foster relationships.

The heart of the building is the "Nest": a nourishing and nurturing place for students and the broader community to convene. It's the cultural heart of the school, where all can gather. Surrounding the Nest are a series of resource-rich learning neighborhoods that respond to specific programmatic requirements. Each neighborhood's design promotes variety over uniformity and creates communities at varied scales. This selection allows every student to plan their own experience while being nurtured by the larger cohort.

The proposed design of the New Vista High School needed to look ahead to the next 100 years. Our entry proposed a net-zero project, a facility that would generate as much energy as it consumes, an ambitious but achievable goal with a fixed $30M construction budget. The site strategy and building diagram minimize energy use and offset this energy use with a significant rooftop photovoltaic array, providing net-zero within the base project cost. New Vista students are the future, and the investment in enduring sustainable design reinforces the message that we care about the future and the people who are that future.

New Vista’s unique education approach – where personal relationships form the foundation of academic outcomes – is integrated into the building’s design of a variety of collaboration spaces.

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