HMC Architects’ Portola High School won a Citation Award at the American Institute of Architects Orange County (AIAOC) 2021 Design Awards. The award was presented at AIAOC’s virtual awards gala in October.

Surrounded by regional history and inspired by local geography, Portola High School in Irvine, California, is a twenty-first-century school where learning happens everywhere. With flexible open spaces, collaboration zones, and science and innovation labs, it looks and feels more like a college campus than a high school. The site rests on the edge of a new planned development surrounding the Great Park, formerly the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Classroom buildings are clustered to promote cross-collaboration between students, teachers, and different disciplines, with second-floor walkways connecting the learning clusters. By identifying multiple uses for spaces, HMC reduced the number of rooms built. This cost savings enabled the district to add a performing arts building with a 700-seat theater, aquatic center, and stadium in the initial construction phase rather than subsequent phases, which is more typical.

For more than 160 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. AIAOC empowers architects and design professionals in service to the local Orange County, California community. Visit AIAOC’s website to learn more and see a full list of this year’s winners.