Juan Diego Catholic High School
With the dramatic backdrop of the Wasatch Mountain range, the Skaggs Catholic Center establishes a hub for catholic education in the southern Salt Lake Valley. Intended to present a bold, modern image that keeps in mind traditional catholic values, the new campus establishes a simple, clear identity and will serve as a lasting tribute to the Skaggs family.
Responding to the Catholic Diocese educational philosophy, the building proclaims the main functions of the school: faith development, commitment to learning, and a sense of community. The chapel, libraries and commons area, are organized around a circular “cloister”, representing these functions. A sculptural bell tower provides focus to the campus and an identity in the surrounding community. This plan concept, recalling early Christian monasteries, evolved from the client’s philosophy to establish the framework for the organization of the remainder of the program. It also acknowledges the Center as a campus rather than simply a collection of buildings.
Of great importance to the Diocese was the spectacular natural setting around the campus. The facility is designed to maximize interior and exterior mountain and valley views. Of equal importance was the introduction of natural light. To accomplish this, extensive clerestories delineate major circulation axis, which then terminate in views to the outdoors. This not only aids in wayfinding, but also alludes to the use of light in Christian architecture to suggest the presence of God.
The interiors for the project were designed as an extension of the architecture to create a seamless experience for the user. While each of the spaces, social, educational and spiritual are clearly defined and articulated the spaces connecting them are used as streets along which activities of the school day are acted out. Corridors, which are lined with lockers, open up to reveal devotional and social break-out spaces throughout the building. These spaces generally occur at the intersections of major walkways and help to define neighborhoods throughout the facilities. The spaces are articulated with circular forms which reinforce, at a smaller scale, the centralized cloister of the campus.