In January 2017, news first broke of the plans for redeveloping Washington, D.C.’s vacant Franklin School, which has been vacant since 2008. The plan is to create the city’s first interactive language arts museum and education space, called Planet Word. Leading the project is Ann B. Friedman and Dantes Partners with Beyer Blinder Belle as the architect.
UrbanTurf now reports that the Planet Word non-profit now has an early layout for the museum. Here, there will be a restaurant, two classrooms, an open patio, auditorium, exhibit space, and great hall. There will also be administrative space and a rooftop terrace with an optional event space.
The delivery for the project is slated for the winter of 2019.
According to a press release, “Planet Word’s mission is to inspire a love of words and language and increase literacy through a host of interactive exhibits and experiences. Along with the Mundolingua in Paris, Planet Word will be one of just a few fully-operational language museums globally.”
The cost of the project is estimated around $30 million. The project is expected to generate 35 full-time jobs and welcome nearly 100,000 visitors annually.
In 1869, the Franklin School was designed by Adolf Cluss, the same architect behind Eastern Market and the Arts and Industries Building. When it was constructed, it served as the flagship building of eight modern urban public school buildings.
On the rooftop of the school in 1880, Alexander Graham Bell tested his invention, the photophone, which allows sound to be transmitted by light waves. Because of this, the school was later declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996.
In 2002, the building was later used as a homeless shelter that eventually closed in September 2008.
• Planet Word’s Early Plans for the Franklin School [UrbanTurf]