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Index

Duke Ellington School of the Arts Washington, DC

Info

BTA’s competition design for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts reflects its students, a vibrant, creative and ever evolving collection of individuals unified in purpose, but with individual strengths, goals and ambitions. The school houses a variety of creative programs unified under the Duke Ellington name and thus our design goal was to create a powerful and inspiring community icon expressing the innate intellectual and creative potential found within.

The new site, only 2 blocks away from the existing school, has a forty-foot grade change from front to back.  Sensitive to the neighbouring residents, the new school burrows into the hill allowing for grand public spaces along the major arterial Reservoir Road, while simultaneously appearing no higher than a typical Georgetown residence when greeting the homes on S Street. The design concept translates into a series of parallel bars that sweep back along the site containing the functional program. Organized along a central spine, students move fluidly through spacious corridors and open atria that clearly expose the various functions within the building while providing a visual continuity that blends each piece together. The main theatre is located just off the main spine and atrium. A separate entry leads directly to the theatre’s lobby, differentiating daytime use and performance circulation patterns. Doing so provides an easy method of isolation of the theatre after hours while retaining a visual connection to the rest of the school.

Sustainability is a core underpinning of the design with simple passive responses to the climate and site. The burrowed building gains the advantage of thermal mass without having to increase the thickness of the walls or floor slab. Conceptually the ground appears to have been peeled up and layered on top of the school. As a result, the roofs are extensively planted which increases the energy performance of the building while providing a low, pleasant roofscape that is aesthetically pleasing to the neighbors. These roofs are watered utilizing a rain catchment system that minimizes the amount of storm-water run-off from the site.

Facts

  • Client:DC Department of General Services
  • Size:220,000 sq ft
  • Status:Competition Finalist

Team

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Washington, DC

BTA’s competition design for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts reflects its students, a vibrant, creative and ever evolving collection of individuals unified in purpose, but with individual strengths, goals and ambitions. The school houses a variety of creative programs unified under the Duke Ellington name and thus our design goal was to create a powerful and inspiring community icon expressing the innate intellectual and creative potential found within.

The new site, only 2 blocks away from the existing school, has a forty-foot grade change from front to back.  Sensitive to the neighbouring residents, the new school burrows into the hill allowing for grand public spaces along the major arterial Reservoir Road, while simultaneously appearing no higher than a typical Georgetown residence when greeting the homes on S Street. The design concept translates into a series of parallel bars that sweep back along the site containing the functional program. Organized along a central spine, students move fluidly through spacious corridors and open atria that clearly expose the various functions within the building while providing a visual continuity that blends each piece together. The main theatre is located just off the main spine and atrium. A separate entry leads directly to the theatre’s lobby, differentiating daytime use and performance circulation patterns. Doing so provides an easy method of isolation of the theatre after hours while retaining a visual connection to the rest of the school.

Sustainability is a core underpinning of the design with simple passive responses to the climate and site. The burrowed building gains the advantage of thermal mass without having to increase the thickness of the walls or floor slab. Conceptually the ground appears to have been peeled up and layered on top of the school. As a result, the roofs are extensively planted which increases the energy performance of the building while providing a low, pleasant roofscape that is aesthetically pleasing to the neighbors. These roofs are watered utilizing a rain catchment system that minimizes the amount of storm-water run-off from the site.

Facts

  • ClientDC Department of General Services
  • Size220,000 sq ft
  • StatusCompetition Finalist

Team