Harvard-Westlake High School Munger Science Center


Los Angeles, CA


Harvard-Westlake School


Gruen Associates

Project Size

30,500 sq. ft.

The Munger Science Center sets a new standard for high school laboratories worldwide. The state-of-the-art science building is situated on a hillside site overlooking an athletic field at the main entrance to the high school’s academic core. The two-level structure accommodates 12 laboratory classrooms and related prep and storage areas, a 125-seat lecture hall and administrative space designed to be flexible and adaptable to future needs. Exterior covered walkways serve the classrooms and extend from an open air rotunda, the main entrance and focal point of the project. The exterior is sheathed in precast concrete with accents of colored ceramic tile. The roof is a sloping terra cotta tile designed to shield the building’s mechanical and exhaust systems from view.

The Science Center employs the latest in technology and equipment featuring two large saltwater aquariums, lab scales, microscopes and spectrometers, a scanning electron microscope, glass-encased fume hoods and computer networking and audiovisual equipment. The lecture hall provides laptop connectivity at every seat. Each classroom operates via an independent water, gas and electrical supply so that in the event one room loses heat or lights, the others will not be affected. Custom-built lab tables with eight-inch deep drawers to hold tall glassware and equipment are used to conduct biology, geology, physics, oceanography, invertebrate zoology, sound and acoustics courses and emulate the finest professional laboratories in the country.