A new bar for sustainability

Green initiatives plan to expand the classroom into a virtual 3-D textbook

by Sian 12 October 2012 Sustainable Buildings
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    Built in 1931 Horace Mann Elementary School has served children in northwest Washington DC for 80 years. In its renovation the architects Marshall Moya Design have formed creative spaces that are designed to encourage experiential learning and personal growth throughout. The vision of facilitating holistic spaces for collaboration was translated through the symbiotic relationship of architecture and landscape.

    Within the design there are communal gardens which have been carefully placed throughout the campus. Also there is a green roof terrace that fosters sustainable urban gardening. An intimate rooftop pavilion also acts as an open-air classroom which is placed on the second floor between classrooms. The atrium that welcomes students, visitors, parents, and teachers will contain a botanical garden including trees, planters, and a lush green wall.

    Communal spaces such as the art room, science gallery, and multi-purpose room have been created as flexible space which can open outwards to the street, hallways, and indoor gardens.  Glass walls and movable partitions create a transparency throughout the school, transforming several spaces into one when required. 

    The library, located towards the north end of the building, promotes a quiet and zen-like environment where it overlooks rows of cherry trees and provides accessibility to outdoor reading spaces.  The cafeteria also acts as a multi-purpose room which not only accommodates performances and recreational activities, but it also opens onto the interior garden. This supports the flexibility and accessibility to the community whilst connecting interior and exterior spaces. 

    The architects have created sustainable design features which enhance and expand the learning environment for the students.  The school has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The new design will represent excellence in sustainability and green initiatives in the DC region.

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