The Potomac School, Upper School Building

McLean, Virginia

The undersized original Upper School was an uninspiring building with dark, narrow corridors that offered no opportunity for student gatherings and interaction. The educational program emphasized replacing corridors with circulation nodes and common areas outside the classrooms that could function as active, social connection points and informal classrooms.

The new ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$219.00FEATURED IN2008 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYCommon Areas School common areas replace conventional corridors with light, color and space. Three interrelated elements form the primary circulation through the school from the main entrance: the “Gallery,” the “Bridge” and the “Crossroads.” The 200-foot-long “Gallery” is a linear, skylighted exhibition space with two levels of classrooms along one side, punctuated with wood-paneled resource pavilions. The connecting glass “Bridge” carries students across an outdoor quadrangle into the “Crossroads”—a 40-foot-high, glass-enclosed “town square” with a massive stone fireplace that encourages conversation and interaction throughout the day. The dining hall, library and theater work together with the “Crossroads” as the central, multi-function, schoolwide gathering place for students and faculty to come together with a strong sense of communal identity.