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Horace Mann Elementary School is located in the northwest section of Washington, D.C. in an entire block bordered by Newark, New Mexico, 45th, and Macomb Streets. MMD’s plan for Horace Mann Elementary focused on creating a high-functioning, supportive academic environment that would support their Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy. The design facilitates both indoor and outdoor instructional spaces, creating a flexible, enriching, and dynamic setting for learning. Communal spaces such as the art, science, and multi-purpose rooms are flexible and able to open to the street and hallways. The transparency of watching collaboration at its best is facilitated through glass walls; creating a sense of unity. A rooftop pavilion allows for sustainable urban gardening, which will complement the ingredients used in the cafeteria.
The project included a 17,000 sq. ft. modernization and 33,000 sq. ft. addition with high involvement of the design team working closely with DGS, NCPS, CFA, and HPO to design a space that would serve both the staff and students. MMD also collaborated with the school’s SIT committee members, addressing their needs and requirements. The project achieved LEED Gold certification and serves as a signature project for both MMD and DGS. It has won numerous awards, including a 2017 ENR MidAtlantic Best Project award.
The heart of the school is layered with "green" spaces that foster sustainable urban gardening that support the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy. The indoor and outdoor structures are intertwined with lush verdant spaces that allow students to learn everywhere in the school.