Manhattan Beach Middle School

Manhattan Beach, California

  • FIRM

    HMC Architects


    Manhattan Beach Unified School District

  • AREA

    34,600 sq.ft.





The Manhattan Beach Middle School occupies a former elementary school site, which is surrounded by a park. The challenge of putting a middle school for 1,400 students on an elementary school site dictated a multistory design. Another concern was to retain the park’s water element and have the school be sensitive to the neighborhood context.

Three academic villages, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$145.00CITATIONMiddle School CitationFEATURED IN1999 Architectural Portfolio for each grade level, comprise the school’s educational program. All grades share central support facilities, such as the gymnasium, library and laboratories. To create useful exterior spaces, each village has an outdoor classroom and large central courtyard. The central courtyard opens to the park’s lake view, and seating walls and landscape elements encourage student interaction.

The design also is carried through with technology incorporated throughout the campus. This includes a campuswide computer network with multiple data outlets in each classroom; a video studio, which can broadcast school productions into each classroom; and dedicated classrooms for computers, industrial technology, art and home economics. Each classroom features a teaching wall with a built-in television and VCR, and individual climate controls.

Photographer: ©Fred Daly

"Very nice...great sense of place...this is an extremely well-done school."—1999 jury