We transformed this 24,000 square-foot former department store into a charter school that focuses on teaching through hands-on experience. Our programming and design responds to that philosophy by making the building itself a learning tool. We exposed key structural elements such as beams and rafters, and created partitions of celled polycarbonate panels to strengthen the notion of transparency in education while allowing for students to concentrate on individual pursuits. A light well and clerestory windows were added to fill the three-story interior with daylight. This is the first of several phases.