Powell Elementary School
The schools of the 21st century look different than schools of the past. They are vibrant, green, and healthy — and the learning doesn’t happen only in the classroom.
Outdoor classrooms and natural playgrounds surround Powell Elementary School. Amphitheater seating, green roofs, and rooftop curriculum gardens are places for lessons in stormwater and the cycle of field to table on this tight, urban site. New classroom wings connect physically and visually to the outdoors. Glass facades with integrated sunshades maximize daylight and fresh air for healthier learning environments.
Interior spaces support differentiated learning in small, medium, and large groups, as well as one on one interactions. Offering experiences in novel settings, they take the form of nooks, wide spots in the hall, and a grand Atrium with a balcony and stadium seating.
When conditions are right — temperature, humidity, wind speed + direction — a green light by the classroom windows tells the students to open the windows. The solar chimneys provide cool fresh air without the use of non-renewable energy.
The school is designed to LEED-S Gold, with a streamlined approvals process with DC SHPO and CFA. In 2014, President Obama announced the FY2015 Education budget at Powell ES.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, + PUBLICATIONS
Best Institutional Facility, Award of Excellence, NAIOP DC | MD 2019
Design Excellence Award, Powell Elementary School, AIA|DC, 2019
Sustainable Design Award, Powell Elementary School, AIA|DC, 2019
Virginia Society AIA: “Powell Elementary School” 2019
Greater Greener, City Parks Alliance Conference, “Greening the Schoolyard”, 2019
AIA National Conference: “21st Century Schools: Net Zero + Beyond” (2017)
USGBC Green Schools Conference: “21st Century Schools – Bringing it Home” (2016)
AIA DesignDC: “Powell Elementary School: Case Study in 21st Century Green Schools” (2016)
Live It Learn It: “Green Schools – Powell Elementary School” (2015)
AIAdc: “High Performance Buildings – Aggressively Passive” (2015)
AIAdc: “AIA 2030 – Passive Design” (2012)