DLR Unveils Newly Renovated D.C. School

By Eric Althoff

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Architectural firm DLR Group recently hosted officials from the Maury Elementary School in the nation’s capital to behold the changes that the firm made to the school.

Because the school was originally constructed on Capitol Hill in 1886, it was in need of refurbishment, and the designers sought to give it a more modern look to blend in with the more familiar nearby buildings. The $42 million renovation project entailed 70,000 square feet of educational space. The work was funded via a campaign set forth by the District of Columbia Public Schools’ capital improvements program.

Among DLR’s renovations was fashioning a new learning environment that utilized glass elements in the design motif for its “discovery commons.” This was meant to act as a metaphorical bridge between the older design elements and those that DLR has since installed—and act as a literal bridge between exterior and interior elements too.

DLR also upgraded the elementary school’s music and art classrooms, science labs and various other learning spaces. The redesign has redirected the flow of people flow through the school better so that students, teachers and staff can get from one area to the next much faster. The redesigned learning spaces are also meant to encourage collaboration rather than solitary learning.

General contractor MCN Build worked with DLR to modernize the HVAC system, among other work.

The renovated school will now be able to host some 450 students, marking an upgrade over its previous capacity of approximately 360.

In a recent statement, DLR Group Principal Sarah Woodhead said that her firm worked to ensure that communal spaces were optimized for both learning and playing.

“The creative design of child-scale places, biophilic materials, and indoor-outdoor connections creates a unique educational environment that inspires, attracts, and sparks children’s love of learning,” stated Woodhead.