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.