Berkley High School, Berkley Collaborative Center

Berkley, Michigan

  • FIRM

    French Associates


    Berkley School District

  • AREA

    231,991 sq.ft.





The 7,000-square-foot Collaborative Center addition has become the focal point of the high school’s existing courtyard. The center has been situated at the end of a beautiful colonnade of mature shade trees. It is a two-study space that is adjacent to the existing building. The district’s goal was to provide a space that encouraged collaboration on many levels ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$37.85FEATURED IN2004 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYStudent Centers/Service Areas students, staff, parents and the community. Along with the Collaborative Center addition, the student center design includes an office area for partnering with community businesses, the school store, and an expanded cafeteria seating area. The existing second-story media center overlooks the center, which is topped by a skylight.

The exterior window mullion pattern reflects the leaf structure of the existing locust trees. The main structural system of the center is reflective of a “tree trunk” made up of four round pipe columns. Five tapered steel “branches” reach out from the trunk toward the courtyard supporting the roof structure. This industrial design feature has come to be known as the “Tree of Knowledge.” The following quote is displayed prominently inside the space as a reminder of the school’s primary purpose: “There are two lasting gifts we can give our children. One is roots and the other is wings.”

The interior color palette is based on school colors with a mature twist. The furniture fabrics have a natural leaf design, further emphasizing the environmental theme of the building concept. The space has a variety of technology resources, including pod workstations, two projection screens and a sound system.