Bassetti Architects: Weaving the New With the Old

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Constructed between 1923 and 1928, Highline High School has been woven into the fabric of the community for nearly a century. While the primary architectural move was a to recreate the historic north entrance and reuse salvaged terra cotta elements of the main entry to reflect the civic importance of this building, the experiential graphics team at Bassetti Architectscreated visuals that layer in an atmosphere of school and community pride for the Highline Pirates. 

The student body at Highline reflects the greater multicultural community of Burien, Washington. The design was inspired by the idea of a traditional marketplace – a multicultural meeting space infused with warm hues of spices, dyes, and handwoven fabrics. Using an analogy of textiles on a weaving loom, the experiential graphics team created contemporary graphics that feature a series of color variations across the bands of color. These colors mimic a piece of thread weaving in and out of the loom. At the entryway, the “threads” consist of a timeline of Highline, while the graphic at the main gym showcases the history of athletic accomplishments of the students. Colorful “loom” graphics also appear in the student commons as bold pops of color contrasting the warm mass timber construction. 

In the spirit of weaving, the program at Highline integrates CTE (career-technical education) with traditional subjects in a move coined “romancing the trades”. Graphics overlayed on windows of the mechanical room showcase the systems for all students to see and welcoming, multi-lingual graphics are the backdrop to the main reception area. 

Additional graphics throughout the school include a wall adorned with a pirate ship riding a wave. The graphic evokes school pride as students enter or exit the school’s main or auxiliary gyms. Supersized text throughout the school indicates key spaces including the library, theater, and community room.  From its initial inception to the finished product, the EGD at Highline creates a sense of pride in the strength of the diverse community it serves. 

Specializing in academic, civic, and cultural institutions for public and non-profit clients, Bassetti Architects delivers creative design solutions for a range of projects. Our in-house Experiential Graphic Design team helps articulate our clients’ visions into impactful projects of superior design and enduring quality. See more of Highline High School here.

Photography by Benjamin Benschneider