- Architects: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
- Location: Washington, DC, United States
- Principal: John K Burke
- Area: 49478.0 ft2
- Project Year: 2016
- Photographs: Hoachlander Davis Photography
- Contractors Name: MCN Build
- Owner: Achievement Preparatory Academy
- Site Area: 4.73 acres
Text description provided by the architects. Achievement Preparatory Academy is a high-performing, college preparatory school located east of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. Founded to close the achievement gap and address the educational needs of the community, Achievement Prep is an award-winning school that has been recognized for having an immediate impact in closing the achievement gap between low-income and affluent students in Washington, DC. Achievement Prep scholars have been among the top performing scholars in the District, often outperforming their peers in more affluent neighborhoods. The new middle school is a building designed to close the achievement gap in the District’s Ward 8 Community.
Achievement Preparatory Academy is a charter school that achieves remarkable results through an unwavering belief that all students can, must, and will learn at high levels. A clear, college-bound mission that is understood and supported by all school members is the key to their success. This submission illustrates how the architectural design of their new middle school facility promoted and enhanced the school’s ability to institute its educational program.
The new Achievement Preparatory Academy middle school building is located on an existing school campus in South East Washington DC. Since 2008, APA operated the middle school program out of an existing, unrenovated school building built in 1962. Because of inadequate space in the existing school building, APA had to move their elementary and early childhood programs out of the existing school and into leased buildings in other locations around Ward 8. The new middle school building allows APA to consolidate all programs on to a single campus that effectively continues to serve the immediate neighborhood.
The massing and material selection of the new middle school is complementary to the existing school building. The goal is to create an architecturally unified campus that is a landmark in the neighborhood. Care is taken to organize arrival and dismissal and to establish different entrances for students of the different schools, segregated from vehicular traffic. The site is organized inwards with opportunities for play and outdoor learning between and around the two buildings.
But most of all, the new building illustrates how the architectural design of the new facility promotes and enhances the school’s ability to institute its educational program and “close the achievement gap”. Working with only one-third of the facility allowance provided to traditional public schools, charter schools in the District of Columbia require innovative and extremely cost conscious design to foster their educational programs.