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The Lab School of Washington, D.C.

Fitting a new addition into a unique school

  • 27K

    Square Feet

  • 4

    Stories

  • Washington, D.C.

    Washington, D.C.

Engaging students before they learn with art-infused, project-based educational approaches

Modern schools have a particular model for education. This model is set up around a regimen of knowledge that’s distributed to students in uniform servings. Designed for the majority, serving the majority well. But it’s not the only model. Those students who are not fairly served by standard schools—students on the edges, in the margins—find standard schools to be narrow, frustrating, limiting.

The Lab School turns conventional schooling on its head. Instead of teaching to encourage engagement, it looks for unique ways to engage its students before they learn. With art-infused and project-based approaches to instruction, the Lab School serves those students with unique learning styles and needs.

So when we were called on to design a four-story addition to the campus, we had to build with those values in mind.

We created a mix of individual, small group collaborative, and large group spaces. Places that serve the needs of contemporary learners. There’s a student commons for social events, group (and quiet) study, presentations, and performances. The school and its neighbors appreciated the rigor that we employed while designing this addition, and the project received unanimous approval by the board of zoning appeals—an uncommon result that underscores this success.

Bring out the Space Kit

When asked to design a new building for the school, Stantec held a very open-minded and open-ended planning process. We used an early version of our “Space Kit” --a planning game featuring a collection of educational spaces from traditional classrooms to the latest trends like “genius bars,” maker spaces, and teamwork areas (ideas originating in retail and innovative workplace design). Read More
Meet Our Team

Camilo Llorens Bearman, Senior Associate

We design because we’re human, but sometimes the human experience is forgotten during the design process. We can’t let that happen, especially when shaping learning environments.
Camilo Llorens Bearman Senior Associate Read More

Derk Jeffrey, Senior Principal

There is a natural affinity between design and learning, architects and educators. Together, our best work has the capacity to make a profound impact on those we serve.
  • Camilo Llorens Bearman

    Senior Associate

  • Derk Jeffrey

    Senior Principal

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