Tour and BIM Seminar: Modernization of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts

The modernization of Duke Ellington School of the Arts - DC Public School’s historic magnet high school has been over four years in the making and just opened for this academic year. Join in this on-site tour and seminar that focuses on how the unique and iconic Duke Ellington Theater – poised within the 10,000 sf Atrium on five columns – was conceived, designed and developed across multiple design disciplines and executed through construction using shared Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Laser Scanning technologies.

The modernization project balances restoring and respecting the historic character of the original buildings, while creating new academic and performance venues, expanding the overall complex from its original 175,000 SF to 265,000 SF. Won in an international competition the “Arts Machine” design seeks to express and expose what goes on inside, promoting interdepartmental awareness and collaboration, and inviting the neighborhood in to experience the fruits of its diverse pre-professional programs.

The academic and performance environment revolves around a four-story atrium, with the new 800-seat Duke Ellington Theater “Egg” suspended in the middle as the institution’s metaphoric heart. New, contemporary construction is woven in and around the restored historic building fabric to accommodate the large studios, performance and rehearsal spaces, and typical high school facilities, which are complimented by exterior elements such as the outdoor Plaza placed at the top of the gently sloping front lawn, the Media Center Terrace sheltered under the grand two-story portico, and the Education Terrace on the Ellington Theater Roof with its spectacular views across the city.

The session will be conducted in one of the rehearsal spaces overlooking the Atrium and Theater, and followed by a brief tour of the Atrium and the Theater. Chris Graae, FAIA of cox graae + spack architects, Principal-in-charge for the LBA-CGS JV, Chris Ambridge, AIA, Sr Project Design Architect, and Gabe Oliver and Dan Waldo, Project Managers from GCS-Sigal Inc. will form the panel, reviewing the team’s use of BIM to execute the school’s unique teaching and performance program.

Presented by: Chris Graae, FAIA, Principal, cox graae + spack architects

Organized by: AIA|DC

Co-sponsored by: The AIA|DC Committee on Architecture for Education and Technology Committee

Thank you to our sponsor!

After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explore the unique challenges this design presented and how the design build team collaborated between the various disciplines to creatively problem-solve;
  • Explain what goes into one of the nation’s premier arts high school facilities;
  • Illustrate how the team utilized BIM modeling and 3D laser scanning for the complex design, detailing, shop drawing review, fabrication and construction of the iconic Ellington Theater; and
  • Describe how sound enhancement and acoustic considerations were integrated into the design of the atrium, theater and rehearsal spaces to enhance hearing, sound isolation, reflectance and absorption.