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cg+s Principal Presents Case Study for HD Woodson STEM High School

October 23, 2013. On October 9, 2013, Bill Spack, founding Principal at cox graae + spack architects spent the evening presenting a case study for HD Woodson STEM High School to the members of the Virginia Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute.

HD Woodson STEM HS is a 230,000 square foot educational facility located in Ward 7, traditionally one of urban Washington DC’s most underserved areas. It is the city’s first ground-up school built specifically to support a progressive curriculum based on STEM. From initial conception, the design of this neighborhood-based HS was rooted in the principles of integrated curriculum and project-based learning.

Bill led a highly collaborative team effort beginning with a comprehensive educational plan that included a STEM Ed Specs, dialogue with educators regarding pedagogy and identification of emerging trends. What developed is a unique urban HS serving 900 students built on the principles of a STEM curriculum: Integrated classrooms and agile labs, collaborative learning spaces, transparency, flexibility and seamless technology.

In addition, the building was conceived as a center for community function offering after-hours access to cultural arts, gathering and recreation space and additionally has become a model for sustainable design in the city.

The firm has been serving the design needs of communities across Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland for over 30 years, encountering a number of challenges that have made the firm more aware, capable and experienced.  Bill’s presentation focused on the philosophic underpinnings of the STEM program and resulting principles that steered the design.  Those attending also took away an understanding of how an urban neighborhood context influences design decisions.

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