Schools of Thought: DC’s New Generation of School Buildings

Marie Reed Learning Center by Quinn Evans Architects – Photo by Joseph Romeo Photography

Over the last decade, the District of Columbia has made a substantial investment in modernizing its public school buildings, and the city’s public charter schools and private schools have also made major investments in their facilities.

The design of these new and renovated schools has moved the architecture of learning spaces well beyond the basics of traditional school design. Like DC’s widely praised new public library buildings, these modernized school buildings employ innovative architecture to better achieve their mission.

What prompted the District’s school rebuilding effort? What difference does good school design make for student learning? And what design features do the city’s new school buildings incorporate? This exhibition explores these questions by looking at 19 of the District’s modernized public, public charter, and private schools.

Schools of Thought is organized by AIA|DC for the SIGAL Gallery and Suman Sorg Gallery.

Written and curated by Mary Fitch, AICP, Hon. AIA

Designed by Scott Clowney, Assoc. AIA

Edited by Sean O’Donnell, FAIA and Ronald O’Rourke

Fact checking by Sean O’Donnell, FAIA and David Constine


Perkins Eastman DC       

Bell Architects + Newman Architects           

Supporting Sponsors

Bowie Gridley Architects              

cox, graae + spack architects

DLR Group

Hord Coplan Macht   

ISTUDIO Architects

MCN Build Foundation 

Quinn Evans Architects

SK&A DC | Structural Engineers

Studio Twenty Seven Architecture

This exhibition was produced in ArchiCAD, courtesy of Graphisoft.

Generously supported in part by BluEdge.