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Media Arts Center, Palo Alto Unified School District
Palo Alto, CA
Media Arts Center, Palo Alto Unified School District
Beginning with a
question.
A landmark institution defines the future of media arts.
21st-century journalism.
Affectionately nicknamed “Paly,” Palo Alto High School is a landmark institution with a long history of graduating notable artists, reporters and technology innovators. Following the passage of a $378 million Strong Schools Bond, former Paly journalism advisers pitched the concept of adding a media arts center to the campus. The inspiration for the project arose from a single question: “What is the newsroom/classroom of the future going to look like?”

The resulting vision was a media arts facility adapted for the 21st century—a campus hub and community center that supports collaboration, innovation, transparency and multi-platform publishing. Energy-saving, green design components were also a key design consideration. In response to these goals, HED crafted a two-story, 24,000 square foot structure equipped with cutting-edge journalism technology, including video, editing and recording equipment. We reduced environmental impact by creating an efficient building envelope and incorporating photovoltaic systems to achieve grid neutrality, effectively offsetting the building’s electrical consumption through its electrical production.

Opened after only three years of construction, Paly’s journalism students and teachers are already making full use of the center, but its real impact extends far beyond the school’s borders. Envisioned as a community gathering space, the center also hosts public meetings, debates, lectures, film festivals and conferences, truly supporting the notion that journalism is for everyone—and is inarguably relevant in the 21st century.
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Results
Media Arts Center technology includes 119 Apple desktop computers, 13 LCD television screens, six soundproof interview booths and a high-tech room for Paly's daily broadcast show, InFocus.
The new structure also houses the school’s seven student publications.
The design integrates the responses of journalism students asked to describe their “dream journalism facility.”
The project includes a two-story science building. The implementation and phasing plan grew out of the school’s master plan, which allows for concurrent on-campus construction projects. This approach successfully reduced the overall timeline.
A landmark institution defines the future of media arts.
Media Arts Center, Palo Alto Unified School District
Palo Alto, CA
Beginning with a
question.
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