John Lewis Elementary School

Washington, District of Columbia


D.C. Department of General Services


90,000 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


John Lewis Elementary School was designed to be the world’s first NZE, LEED Platinum, and WELL-certified school. Dramatically reducing energy to create one of the healthiest, highest-performing schools in the country, the design retains the flexibility and ease of communication that was beloved in the building that it replaced.

This flexibility is prominently seen in academic corridors, featuring overhead skylights and baffles that bleed into flexible learning spaces, accessible to each classroom through manual garage doors. Abundant daylight and references to the adjacent Rock Creek Park through organic textures, vibrant primary colors, and abstract tree canopies made from acoustic baffles further connect the school to its context and contribute to the school’s unique character.

The library, the “heart of the school,” acts as the central core of circulation, light, entry, and gathering. A large-scale mural designed and painted by local artist Mas Paz, who also had a beloved mural at the previous school building, has pride of place.

An interactive, online dashboard tracks the building’s energy consumption, showcases the building’s sustainability features, and links to the school’s curriculum to address topics like climate change, water conservation, and social and environmental justice.

Additional Information


Silver Citation

Featured in

2022 Educational Interiors Showcase

Interior category

Common Areas

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