Lick-Wilmerding High School Historic Renovation & Expansion

Architecture Firm: EHDD

Owner: Lick-Wilmerding High School

Location: San Francisco

Project site:  Historic structure or district

Building program type(s):   Education – K-12  School

2022 COTE Top Ten Plus Honoree

This major renovation and expansion of Lick-Wilmerding High School forefronts its legacy as an industrial arts school dedicated to public service. The school, with its motto of “Head, heart, hands,” continually seeks to push the limits of academic excellence, civic engagement, and craft and technology. Both the design process and strategies echo this philosophy through the integration of a truly equitable community engagement process with high environmental goals that would result in the building being a model of urban sustainability, targeting deep carbon reductions through net zero energy design and the transformation of an existing building, preserving its historic fabric and becoming a dependable facility resource for the surrounding community.

"This project beautifully demonstrates how you can restore and renovate existing buildings, taking existing structures and flipping them to be extroverted and embracing street culture. Lick-Wilmerding shows how historic buildings can be net zero, not mutually exclusive." - Jury Comment

The Center for Civic Engagement—formerly hidden down a maze of double-loaded corridors—is now prominently located in the lobby, elevating the importance of public service. The new design also pulls the campus entry to an active urban corner, creating full accessibility and establishing a robust public presence with a generous lobby that fosters student community and flexibly hosts public functions. The economic benefits to the community are unostentatious but critical, as local nonprofits are regularly welcomed to use the new building's spaces to support their various community events.  

Craft and technology are highlighted throughout. At the entry, rotating exhibits of student work are featured at the plaza gallery, instilling pride and ownership. At the existing building, the integrated historic and new building envelope meets exceptionally high thermal, acoustic, daylighting, and air-quality standards in response to challenging site adjacencies. A target EUI of 21 kBtu, resulting from early optimization of roof areas for PVs, is the cornerstone of the net zero energy approach, balanced with exceptional occupant satisfaction, provides a holistic approach to personal, social, and environmental wellness, as acknowledged through the receipt of the 2020 Livable Building Honor Award.

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of design completion: 2017

Year of substantial project completion: 2018

Gross conditioned floor area: 50,488 sq ft

Number of stories: 3

Project climate zone: Title 24 Marine

Annual hours of operation: 2,048

Site area: 31,178 sq ft

Project site context/setting: Urban

Cost of construction, excluding furnishing: $31,807,440

Number of residents, occupants, visitors: 1,300

Project team

Acoustical Consultant: Charles M. Salter Associates

Commissioning Consultant: Guttman & Blaevoet

Construction Engineer - Civil: BKF Engineers

Daylighting Consultant: University of Washington, Integrated Design Lab

Engineer - MEP: Integral Group  

Engineer - Structural: Forell/Elsesser

General Contractor: Truebeck  

Landscape Architect: GLS Landscape  

Lighting Consultant: Architecture & Light  


Margaret Cavenagh, AIA, Chair, Studio Gang, Chicago

Angela Brooks, FAIA, Brooks + Scarpa, Los Angeles

Nakita Reed, AIA, NOMA, Quinn Evans, Baltimore

Z Smith, FAIA, Eskew Dumez Ripple, New Orleans

Image credits

New Entry Plaza

Michael David Rose

Lick-Wilmerding Exterior

Michael David Rose

Interface Between Historic and New

Michael David Rose

Main Lobby

Michael David Rose

New Corner Entry

Michael David Rose