The Potomac School, The Potomac Upper School

McLean, Virginia

A significantly larger, new Upper School campus replaces the formerly isolated, undistinguished, 1980s structure. The clearly defined new architecture unifies the Upper School educational environment and connects it to the outdoor landscape.

The new campus is linked to the existing campus circulation by an expansive terraced quadrangle and an L-shaped building that ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY425COST PER SQ FT$250.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio the two older structures. Placed alongside the existing gym, the two-story classroom wing establishes a welcoming presence with fieldstone, glass curtainwalls and wood laminated roof beams.

Students enter a sequence of syncopated spatial experiences meant to simulate a lively, outdoor walk through an urban neighborhood. After crossing a glass bridge, they must pass through the central village square or “Crossroads” to reach all other parts of the school, including adjacent classrooms, a library, dining hall and theater. The 40-foot-high, glass-walled Crossroads serves as the central meeting place.

The contemporary new Upper School maintains a harmonious relationship with the original campus architecture by incorporating similar shed and flat roofs with pale yellow stucco walls. The new buildings, however, emphasize clear structural expression, wall-plane modulation, full-height glass walls and integration of landscape with the architecture.