Making Waves Academy

Richmond, CA
Phase II Completed 2019

Founded in 2007, Making Waves Academy is a non-profit charter school serving low-income students in grades 5 through 12 in Contra Costa County. Through this project, the school expanded to approximately 14 acres and 250,000 square feet of teaching space in seven buildings. A key component of our design for the school was centering the classrooms on collaborative, flexible, open learning spaces. Other program features included a parent resource center, restorative justice spaces, a gymnasium, Maker Spaces, and a performance art space. The site includes an artificial turf play yard, a climbing wall, play structures, and shaded outdoor eating areas.

For the new buildings, we utilized economical tilt up concrete construction, articulated by sunshades and bright colors, along with colorful, panel-clad pop-outs. The project also included the transformation of the school’s existing three buildings into state-of-the-art facilities.

An additional phase of the project, an Upper School Gymnasium and field, is planned for delivery in 2021.

Photography: Ken Gutmaker