Cathedral High School
San Diego, CA
2006 MCAA International Excellence in Masonry Award Winner
Williams & Sons Masonry, Inc.
Architect: Contacts Without Company
Cathedral High School is a new Catholic high school built to replace the recent University Catholic High School located on property designated for the expansion of the University of San Diego (USD). Cathedral High School is located at 5555 Del Mar Heights Road, San Diego, CA 92130 and carries on the tradition and values of University High School. It is a coed high school serving the greater part of San Diego County with a capacity to grow to 2000 students. Currently 1600 students attend.
Responding to the moderate coastal climate and fairly consistent wind patterns, the new high school campus was planned around several major piazzas, reminiscent of Italian hill towns. The individual academic buildings have been arranged in a cluster to provide varied perspectives and vistas between buildings. Collectively, their composition is similar in character and scale to a small village that is focused on the parish church at the east end of campus. A very gradual rise in elevation towards the church distinguishes it as a dominant feature in the complex and projects a readily visible Catholic identity. The chapel's bell tower and Student Center clock tower constitute the primary focal points that serve to identify the campus and offer a sense of direction and place.
This project consisted of a total of eleven masonry buildings including a Fine Arts Theater, Library, Student Support, Administration, Gymnasium, Maintenance, and Four Classroom buildings, Football and Track Stadium, Baseball Dugouts, Swimming Pool, and most importantly the Chapel. The site includes many retaining walls, fence columns, fence walls, bridge walls and monument signs.
Consistent with the Italian village theme, the materials chosen to construct the buildings consist of a three-color blend of split face and precision block. The base walls start out with a 10-inch wide brown colored block 4 feet high around the perimeter of each building. The 10-inch block terminates with a beveled unit. The remaining walls then change to a three-colored blend split face block with white pumice. Pre cast concrete was used throughout the project for wall and pilaster caps as well as window sills. The Chapel Entry consists of ornamental surround trim. Building materials also included stone, cement plaster and clay roof tiles.
The architectural vocabulary and the building materials were carefully selected to accomplish:
- Appropriateness for the region and specifically this community
- Reflective of the purpose particular and educational and religious structures, yet distinguished from the surrounding homes
- Responsiveness to the budget constraints