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INTERSECT Case Study Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

September 15, 2020
Intersect Case Study for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School at Bray Architects

The first case study in INTERSECT Volume I explores Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which was designed to reflect the school’s mission: Cura Personalis; educating the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.

This Cristo Rey Jesuit High School case study demonstrates how the classroom design is supported by the Self Determination Theory.

Self Determination Theory: “Conditions supporting the individual’s experience of autonomy, competence, and relatedness are argued to foster the most volitional and high quality forms of motivation and engagement for activities, including enhanced performance, persistence, and creativity.”1

The paired learning environments, explained on page 8, demonstrate how two simple learning environments incorporated in the classroom design provide the three conditions of the Self Determination Theory.

A diagram of a classroom and hallway space showing the connections between an interactive collaboration center in the hallway, an academic alcove with windows to the classroom, and two classrooms at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

Autonomy: Explicit and implied classroom zones within and outside of the traditional four-wall classroom give students a sense of ownership in their learning, allowing them to choose an environment that best suits their learning style during breakout time and group work.

Competence: By providing embedded resources in the interactive collaboration space outside of the classroom, and a lounge area within the classroom near the teacher’s desk, students have access to a variety of learning modalities that support the base instruction of traditional classroom teaching.

Relatedness: The windows create a visual connection between the interactive collaboration center and classroom, helping unite the learning spaces and give the feel of an expanded classroom. The culture at Cristo Rey is focused on building and fostering relationships to ensure student success. The physical environments, from classrooms to the main commons, were designed to help encourage these relationships by providing inviting and comfortable spaces to interact with others.


To learn more about the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School project, click here.

Read more about Bray’s INTERSECT scholarship + internship program

1 “Theory-Self Determination.” Center for Self Determination Theory, n.d.

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