Back to School

News—————14 September 2016


The start of the 2016-2017 school year marks the completion of three S27 projects: Achievement Prep Academy in southeast DC, the Mammie D. Lee Briya-Bridges-Mary Center campus in Fort Totten, and KIPP DC’s Smilow Campus.

Achievement Prep (pictured above) was a two phase project — Phase 1, completed last year, is a new 50,000 square foot middle school. Phase 2, the renovation of an existing school building for Achievement Prep’s elementary school, was finished this summer. A pedestrian walkway and dynamic play area connect the two buildings (pictured below), all of which sits atop a densely forested hill with sweeping views of DC. Lead project architect Jacob Marzolf gave a Pecha Kucha talk on the project at last night’s AIA|DC Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA/CAE) Back to School Fall Social!



Mammie D. Lee (above left) is a new home for two public charter schools, Bridges and Briya, and a Mary’s Center community health clinic. Bridges PCS is a pre-K3 through 5th grade school that provides inclusive learning and early intervention to students with special needs. Briya PCS provides infant and toddler classes, pre-K, and adult education in a model designed to engage entire families. S27’s design approach, first developed with the client group at a Learning Environments for Tomorrow workshop hosted by Harvard’s Graduate Schools of Education and Design, celebrates each institution as a micro-climate within the macro-climates of the site and Fort Totten community.

The Smilow Campus (above right) houses Kipp DC’s Arts and Technology, Quest, and Valor academies. Two new additions double the campus’s previous capacity to 1,100 students. Mediation of the site’s feeble soil quality (it sits just south of the Watts Branch tributary of the Potomac River) became the project’s central design concept: a series of subtractions allow the building volumes to sit lightly on the site, while maximizing interior daylight and the area of stormwater-retaining green roofs. S27 previously partnered with Kipp DC in projects at their Shaw, Benning, Webb, and Douglass campuses.


Finally, Mundo Verde PCS (picture above and below) has won an Award of Excellence from the AIA’s Committee on Architecture for Education!

AIA/CAE Education Facility Design Awards of Excellence are given to “the year’s best school and college facilities” — projects that enhance the client’s educational program, integrate functional needs and aesthetic considerations while respecting the surrounding community and context, understand the connection between the built and natural environment, and demonstrate an integrated and holistic approach to sustainability.

The jury commented that “the design team’s process for engaging the community in the design will ensure the project’s long-term success. Several features reflect a thoughtful and holistic sustainability strategy within a modest budget.”

A celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony are planned for October 22nd.


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