Located in the historic Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, the Jefferson-Houston School serves 450 Pre-K - 8th graders. The building references local historic architecture to create a context appropriate, contemporary educational facility that reflects the innovative mission of the school district. Through a rigorous, design-focused community engagement process, participants determined priorities for the new school, such as site design, massing, and exterior materials. The new school is also a teaching tool with architectural “manifestations” where students can learn how the building works.
The cylindrical main entrance tower creates a new landmark, and a roof deck provides views to significant cultural features like the nearby historic Masonic Temple.
Energy efficiency and environmental responsibility were major goals, and the school earned LEED Gold certification. Sustainable features include on site stormwater management, water efficient landscaping, and a large cistern to capture rainwater for reuse. Inside, the school has energy efficient HVAC and plumbing, low VOC emitting interior finishes and materials, LED lighting, and enhanced acoustical design elements.