Discovery Elementary School is Arlington Public Schools’ first elementary school designed in the 21st century. While built to address rapidly growing student enrollment in Arlington, the school was designed to meet a larger goal – to prove what can truly be achieved with a new public school facility. To this end, careful attention was focused on designing and building a school that supports how and where students learn. Every nook and cranny of the school is arranged to create a seamless integration between design, sustainability, and learning. Recognizing that students are the creators of our collective future, Discovery Elementary sets the stage for the development of the skills necessary for long-term stewardship of our world.

The school was designed to be a zero energy building, meaning that the amount of energy produced annually by on-site renewable energy sources is equal to the amount of energy used annually. Discovery is one of only four schools nationally and the largest building of any kind, anywhere in the world to receive ZE certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and New Buildings Institute (NBI). As a carbon neutral producer of clean energy, the school offers a positive example of a solution to a global crisis – and along the way emboldens students with the expectation that they are creative participants in those solutions.

Discovery Elementary School is Arlington Public Schools’ first elementary school designed in the 21st century. While built to address rapidly growing student enrollment in Arlington, the school was designed to meet a larger goal – to prove what can truly be achieved with a new public school facility. To this end, careful attention was focused on designing and building a school that supports how and where students learn. Every nook and cranny of the school is arranged to create a seamless integration between design, sustainability, and learning. Recognizing that students are the creators of our collective future, Discovery Elementary sets the stage for the development of the skills necessary for long-term stewardship of our world.

The school was designed to be a zero energy building, meaning that the amount of energy produced annually by on-site renewable energy sources is equal to the amount of energy used annually. Discovery is one of only four schools nationally and the largest building of any kind, anywhere in the world to receive ZE certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and New Buildings Institute (NBI). As a carbon neutral producer of clean energy, the school offers a positive example of a solution to a global crisis – and along the way emboldens students with the expectation that they are creative participants in those solutions.

Project Timeline

Discovery isn’t just a school building. Every aspect of the environment is built for and used for learning. We aspire to its example, and strive to implement innovative, research-based, future-proof practices that mirror the potential of this space.

Client: Arlington Public Schools

Location: Arlington, VA

Discipline: Primary & Elementary Schools

Completion: 2015

Performance: Performance

Size: 98,000 SF