Magazine Names Carnegie Vanguard Best K-12 Design Project

Carnegie Vanguard High School was selected by a leading design and construction publication this week as a top building project for innovative structure and design features – beating out six schools in Texas and Louisiana.

“Students here get to be proud of not just the school they attend but the physical structure of their building,” said the school’s instructional coordinator, Melissa Matsu. “It’s a new building, and we love to show it off.”

The new school, which opened in 2012 under HISD’s 2007 bond program, received the K-12 Best Project award in the education category from Engineering News Record (ENR) Texas & Louisiana.

Read more about the award

“It’s not a typical brick school,” said Meredith Smith, the project manager and HISD’s senior manager of Construction and Facility Services. “It has a tilt-wall, polished concrete floors and specialty glass. From an engineering standpoint, it fits right into what HISD is trying to do with building 21st century learning facilities.”

The school, located at 1501Taft, overlooks Houston’s skyline and includes a green rooftop, rain water storage tanks and a unique red wall. The school was designed and built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.

“One prominent architectural element is a massive red masonry wall that starts in the school commons as a feature wall and continues to the exterior building entrance to serve as a signage wall and welcoming point for visitors,” said architect Lorie Westrick of RdlR Architects, the Houston architectural firm that designed the school in partnership with the school’s builder, Turner Construction Company.

Turner submitted the application for the award.

“This project has a great story behind it,” said Alayne Bomba Bryant of Turner. “It’s a unique campus design built with innovative construction methods and the input of the community.  Our community involvement team partnered with HISD and local community and business leaders to make a large effort to involve small and minority- and women-owned businesses in this project, too. Everyone was aligned with the goal of delivering an exceptional facility.”

Carnegie is one of 19 projects awarded ENR’s highest honor of “Best Project” in their respective categories and will advance to the national competition to be considered for a “Best of the Best” national award. Winners will be announced on Dec. 18 in Dallas.