E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, Georgia Ave. NW, Washington DC
E.L. Haynes is one of the most prominent charter schools in the Nation’s Capital. The new, five-story building of nearly 50,000 square feet adapts to fit a compact, urban site while communicating the lively, open nature of a school that houses pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade. From the outside, the building integrates with the street through playful massing – three boxes of different colors and shapes coalesce to create a building for 475 students. The design breaks the mass of the building into smaller scale volumes, to relate both the residential side streets and larger scale of Georgia Avenue. The red color complements the neighboring row houses and the lighter color stucco volume reduces the visual weight overall.
The building is designed to be open and inviting to the Petworth neighborhood community. The open lobby design makes the school and its students far more transparent, while providing connections to the largest spaces, the multipurpose room below, and sculptural stairs to the gymnasium above. Tall panels for the display of student work are visible as well.
The open nature of the plan is further articulated through the use of “hubs” instead of corridors, around which classrooms are placed. Every classroom is bright, and many offer wonderful long views across the city, particularly from the rooftop playground. Hub spaces support group activity and unify the grades within the lower and middle schools.
The design of the building supports an extensive green roof, and many other features have been incorporated for reducing energy use. Students will be introduced to how their building actually works by having the various systems exposed.