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Upcoming AIA exhibit will showcase D.C.’s school architecture

Dozens of the city’s schools have been modernized over the past decade-plus

The entrance to a modern school building with a person in shadow walking outside.
Dunbar High School in Truxton Circle
The Washington Post via Getty Im

Like its public libraries, many of the District’s schools are architectural gems, designed by respected firms. An exhibit debuting next week at the District Architecture Center in Penn Quarter promises to highlight 19 such buildings, including public schools, charter schools, and private schools that have received major makeovers in recent years. The exhibit opens November 12 and runs through January 9, 2020, per the local arm of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which operates the center. Admission will be free and open to the public.

“The design of these new and renovated schools has moved the architecture of learning spaces well beyond the basics of traditional school design,” notes AIA D.C. An opening reception for the exhibit, titled “Schools of Thought,” is scheduled for November 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will examine the benefits of good design for learning, and the city’s school modernization push, which originated in a lawsuit over the schools’ old conditions.

“During the period from 1990 to 2007, a group of loosely-organized but highly-committed individuals and groups came together to fight for the District’s schools and build the foundation for what became the [D.C. Public Schools] Modernization Program,” says AIA D.C. That billion-dollar program, which remains ongoing, address over 100 public schools.

District Architecture Center

421 7th Street NW , Washington, DC 20004,