In order to accommodate an additional 175 students, VMDO Architects designed a 30,000-square-foot addition to Boyce Elementary School. The original 1942 school, a single-story “U”-shaped brick building with steeply sloped roofs, provides an intimate atmosphere conducive to learning. Hoping to retain these positive qualities while more than doubling the size of the building, the new architecture recognizes and extends the scale of the original school.

The red brick, white trim, and sloping roofs that make up the new construction are all compatible with existing building elements. While matching the scale and roof forms of the original building, the new design transforms the school from a single building unit into a unified compound organized around a central courtyard. A bell tower, visible from a distance, is the focus of the courtyard, marking the central common area. The gymnasium serves as a “community room” and, like the civic tower element, is oriented off of the orthogonal grid of the school.

The design intent for the interior, as for the exterior, was to create a “complex” of compatible but distinct areas, rather than to simply match and extend the original building. To strengthen the idea that these areas all form a single school, however, some repetitive elements are used throughout the hallways. Threading through all building elements is a corridor system which is modulated to express on the interior the “measure” of the building. Corners, offsets, ceiling height changes, and varying lighting effects including skylights create different interior zones. Large display walls that mark the entry to each classroom are made of soft natural wood and can be used to display student work.

The courtyard has the feeling of a village square. This protected, intimate space strengthens the community of the school by serving that accommodates both student dining and various forms of assembly—augmenting a conventional cafeteria with a versatile, all-school theatre space.

In order to accommodate an additional 175 students, VMDO Architects designed a 30,000-square-foot addition to Boyce Elementary School. The original 1942 school, a single-story “U”-shaped brick building with steeply sloped roofs, provides an intimate atmosphere conducive to learning. Hoping to retain these positive qualities while more than doubling the size of the building, the new architecture recognizes and extends the scale of the original school.

The red brick, white trim, and sloping roofs that make up the new construction are all compatible with existing building elements. While matching the scale and roof forms of the original building, the new design transforms the school from a single building unit into a unified compound organized around a central courtyard. A bell tower, visible from a distance, is the focus of the courtyard, marking the central common area. The gymnasium serves as a “community room” and, like the civic tower element, is oriented off of the orthogonal grid of the school.

The design intent for the interior, as for the exterior, was to create a “complex” of compatible but distinct areas, rather than to simply match and extend the original building. To strengthen the idea that these areas all form a single school, however, some repetitive elements are used throughout the hallways. Threading through all building elements is a corridor system which is modulated to express on the interior the “measure” of the building. Corners, offsets, ceiling height changes, and varying lighting effects including skylights create different interior zones. Large display walls that mark the entry to each classroom are made of soft natural wood and can be used to display student work.

The courtyard has the feeling of a village square. This protected, intimate space strengthens the community of the school by serving that accommodates both student dining and various forms of assembly—augmenting a conventional cafeteria with a versatile, all-school theatre space.

Client: Clarke County Public Schools

Location: Berryville, VA

Discipline: Primary & Elementary Schools

Completion: 1990

Size: 30,000 SF New Construction and 22,000 SF Renovation

Key Team Members

Awards Received

1996 Honor Award
Virginia Department of Education

1996 Outstanding Project
Learning By Design

1995 Honor Award
Virginia School Boards Association

1994 Design Award
Inform Magazine

1994 Excellence in Architecture Award
AIA Virginia