KIPP DC: Benning Campus
KIPP DC (Knowledge is Power Program DC) is a network of high-performing college preparatory charter schools in Washington, DC that serve the city’s under-resourced communities. The campus building on Benning Road houses early education, elementary and middle schools. The design of the building is a function of the long and narrow urban site and the educational mission of KIPP DC, who seek not just to educate students but to engage and transform neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Barely 120 feet wide and close to 400 feet long, the site presented unique opportunities and masterplanning challenges for the design team.
This project was completed in with our joint venture partner Devrouax + Purnell Architects.
All photos copyright Hoachlander Davis Photography
The site encouraged the architects to mass the classrooms along the length of Benning Road, creating an elevation that defines the streetscape for nearly two entire urban blocks. The entrance lobby, open with glass to all sides and level with the sidewalk, creates a sense of welcome.
Overall, the floor plan for the KIPP DC School on Benning Road is extremely compact and efficient when compared to the floor plan of a typical school. A typical school floor plan devotes 35% – 40% of its total area to unprogrammed space, (i.e. corridors stairways, mechanical rooms, etc) These are spaces that are required to allow a building to function but do not directly support the building’s mission. The Benning Road School devotes only 22% of its total area to unprogrammed space. This is a very tight plan configuration but one that is required to meet the limitations of the site and the 50’ height restriction dictated by zoning.