Frederick Fisher & Partners recently completed a project at the Ojai Valley School’s Upper Campus in Ojai, California, replacing structures previously lost to the Thomas Fire in 2017.

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A bird's-eye view of a large campus in a desert area.

Situated on a 195-acre site in Ventura County, the new and permanent buildings span 37,000 square feet to include the Aramon Science and Technology Center, the Grace Hobson Smith House dormitory and the Littlefield Student Commons dining and library complex.

Related: A LEED Gold-targeted health education hub joins University of Washington campus

On the right, people looking off a balcony to a green campus courtyard to the left.

The school had a head start even before the wildfire struck, as it had already been in contact with Frederick Fisher & Partners in 2015 to develop a master plan for future growth. Because of this, they were able to begin work quickly in June of 2018. “OVS showed great resilience in transforming the tragedy of the Thomas Fire into a reimagination of the Upper Campus,” said Frederick Fisher, founding partner and design principle of the project. “We reset from our previous planning with the OVS community and seized this rare ‘blank canvas’ opportunity to create a functionally and aesthetically unified state-of-the-art learning, living, and gathering village interwoven with the extraordinary landscape.”

A campus building lit up at dusk.

Built to support the school’s growing science and technology curriculum, the single-story Aramont Science and Technology Center contains a range of classrooms, labs and spaces for science, technology and the arts both indoors and outdoors. At two stories, the Littlefield Student Commons is made up of a dining hall, library and student center with space for events and a library on the top floor. The new Grace Hobson Smith House dormitory was completed to house resident and faculty apartments surrounding a community courtyard.

A white classroom with people at long tables.

To achieve LEED Gold status, the design integrates passive cooling with photoelectric power generation and lithium-ion battery energy storage. Altogether, the system will eliminate substantial CO2 emissions while allowing the campus to work off-grid during normal operations. 

+ Frederick Fisher & Partners

Images courtesy of Logan Hall for Ojai Valley School