Atrisco Heritage Academy High School

Albuquerque, NM

A collaboration between FBT Architects and Perkins+Will, this new high school for 2,250 students represents a big step forward in the development of 21st Century schools. Atrisco Heritage Academy features 473,000 sf of classrooms and support facilities unified by a common pedestrian plaza. As requested by the community, the facility serves as a multicultural education and community center for the predominantly Hispanic and immigrant population served by this district. Located on the gently sloping southwest mesa of Bernalillo County, this innovative school campus strives to safeguard the community’s past, with an eye toward the future in a rapidly changing environment. Features include classrooms and administrative support spaces for 2,200 students, three gymnasiums, a performing arts center, black box theater, community health clinic, mock courtroom, bank and facilities to support career path academies including health careers, Business and Leadership.

The design met the community’s challenge for all primary classrooms to hold views of the Sandia Mountains. Administrative offices, lockers and restrooms were clustered around small learning communities. Regional materials including stucco and corrugated metal were offset with curtainwall glazing systems and flat metal panel to provide a modern interpretation of traditional architecture.

The Vision

The design team’s focus for the project was to develop a community-based campus focused around small learning communities. To support that goal, the campus was designed with public meeting spaces, medical clinics, legal services, a public library and computer labs.

With security a primary concern, the approach for the campus organization focused around a secured student pedestrian zone interconnecting the educational spaces. Community spaces line the perimeter. Public access to the student pedestrian is strictly controlled with ornamental security barriers.