Won in an international design competition in 2013 and now under construction, cox graae + spack architects as Design Architect formed a Joint Venture Partnership with Lance Bailey & Associates to transform this aging historic National Landmark through a $135m modernization into a top tier, 600–student facility that will finally match DC's crown jewel School of the Art's renowned reputation. The design finds the balance between restoring and respecting the historic fabric while creating major new academic and performance venues, expanding the complex to 265,000 sf. The “Arts Machine” design seeks to express and expose what goes on inside, promoting interdepartmental awareness and collaboration, and inviting the neighborhood in to experience the fruits of its diverse pre-professional programs. The academic and performance environment revolves around a four-story atrium, with the new iconic 800 seat Duke Ellington Theater “egg” suspended in the middle as the institution’s metaphoric heart. New construction - expressed in contemporary design and materials - is woven in and around the restored historic building fabric to accommodate the large studios, performance and rehearsal spaces, which are complimented by exterior elements such as the outdoor Plaza placed at the top of the gently sloping front lawn, the Media Reading Room Terrace sheltered under the grand two-story portico and the Education Terrace on the Ellington Theater Roof with its spectacular views across the city, all contribute to its expression of revitalization.