Watkins Elementary School

Washington, DC

Watkins Elementary School is part of the Capitol Hill Cluster, a unique public school with three campuses in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. While this project began as a phased modernization of the existing 1960s building, it evolved into a more ambitious transformation to create a sustainable, child-centered 21-st century learning environment.

Through a collaborative, community-based process, the design realized the hopes and aspirations of the students, teachers, parents, and administrators for a flexible, exciting, and sustainable learning environment that would become the centerpiece of their Capitol Hill neighborhood.

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Community Testimonial

“The design and materials of the new Watkins Elementary School respect and enhance the original building. We feel that the sympathetic addition amplifies the original modernist building with modest details, light and airy spaces, and an overall welcoming and friendly aesthetic appropriate to an elementary school.”


- Capitol Hill Restoration Society

The existing four-story linear academic wing and stair tower were modernized. A new entrance lobby and multipurpose wing were constructed in materials chosen to contrast with but complement the existing building.