William McDonough + Partners completes new school for American University in Washington
"How can we design a building that inspires students to dream?" This charge, articulated by the dean of the United States' largest foreign service program, guided the design team for this new building on the American University campus. Serving as a symbol of the school’s tradition of global service, the anticipated LEED Gold certified building provides a vibrant setting for teaching, research and public dialogue.
Design strategies, including on-site generation of renewable energy, Cradle-to-Cradle material specifications, and abundant fresh air and daylight, were developed and prioritised in close collaboration with the School’s students, faculty and staff to serve as pedagogical tools capable of demonstrating the highest degrees of environmental responsibility.
The sunlit atrium provides a welcome meeting place for the School and its visitors as they work towards social justice, the eradication of poverty, and world peace. Global connections are celebrated on the building exterior as well, where the pattern of the perforated frieze is inspired by the Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map of the world.