The Third Innovative, Net-Zero School in Arlington

Scheduled to open in September 2021 as VMDO’s third net-zero school in Arlington, the new Reed Elementary School aims to set new standards for design excellence in sustainability, energy performance, and innovative learning environments for Arlington City Schools. Building on energy performance innovations and user feedback from Discovery Elementary School, Reed Elementary will keep raising the bar for students, teachers, and the community who know firsthand how Discovery has revolutionized the entire school district – not only with award winning learning spaces, but also with net-zero design that provides APS with $117,000 of annual utility cost savings in comparison to a typical district school.

Reed Elementary follows the precedent of a four-story, pre-K to 5th-grade elementary school established by Alice West Fleet Elementary (opening fall 2019). Reed reflects the often-repeated desire among Arlington residents to “build up and not out” as part of the vibrant Westover community. The design of Reed ensures that the building appropriately blends in with the neighborhood context and will give back to the community in energy savings and improved, shared spaces.

Anytime, Anywhere Learning

The design includes a variety of learning spaces that articulate the positive relationships between new pedagogic methods, community engagement, modern architecture, and educational landscape strategies that promote health, well-being, and collaboration. The connection between spaces inside and outside the building will occur in a variety of ways to involve and activate sensory responses. Universal design and sustainability will be hallmarks of the new school. The goal is to create a school that students can’t wait to get to in the morning and don’t want to leave in the afternoon. Specialized learning classrooms and extended learning areas are interwoven throughout the academic core to promote long-term programmatic flexibility, to foster a sense of community and belonging amongst learners, and to ease transition-related sensitivities.

Every Space is a Learning Place

The layout will accommodate the need for flexibility as educational methods and practices evolve allowing for more opportunities for personalized learning experiences. A variety of space types – classrooms, hubs, team rooms, conference rooms, nooks and crannies, and outdoor classrooms – will foster collaboration, interaction, innovation, and invention. Reed will also be designed as a living lab for sustainable practices. An over-arching goal for the design is the encouragement of creativity, curiosity, and joy within an actively engaged community.

The Third Innovative, Net-Zero School in Arlington

Scheduled to open in September 2021 as VMDO’s third net-zero school in Arlington, the new Reed Elementary School aims to set new standards for design excellence in sustainability, energy performance, and innovative learning environments for Arlington City Schools. Building on energy performance innovations and user feedback from Discovery Elementary School, Reed Elementary will keep raising the bar for students, teachers, and the community who know firsthand how Discovery has revolutionized the entire school district – not only with award winning learning spaces, but also with net-zero design that provides APS with $117,000 of annual utility cost savings in comparison to a typical district school.

Reed Elementary follows the precedent of a four-story, pre-K to 5th-grade elementary school established by Alice West Fleet Elementary (opening fall 2019). Reed reflects the often-repeated desire among Arlington residents to “build up and not out” as part of the vibrant Westover community. The design of Reed ensures that the building appropriately blends in with the neighborhood context and will give back to the community in energy savings and improved, shared spaces.

Anytime, Anywhere Learning

The design includes a variety of learning spaces that articulate the positive relationships between new pedagogic methods, community engagement, modern architecture, and educational landscape strategies that promote health, well-being, and collaboration. The connection between spaces inside and outside the building will occur in a variety of ways to involve and activate sensory responses. Universal design and sustainability will be hallmarks of the new school. The goal is to create a school that students can’t wait to get to in the morning and don’t want to leave in the afternoon. Specialized learning classrooms and extended learning areas are interwoven throughout the academic core to promote long-term programmatic flexibility, to foster a sense of community and belonging amongst learners, and to ease transition-related sensitivities.

Every Space is a Learning Place

The layout will accommodate the need for flexibility as educational methods and practices evolve allowing for more opportunities for personalized learning experiences. A variety of space types – classrooms, hubs, team rooms, conference rooms, nooks and crannies, and outdoor classrooms – will foster collaboration, interaction, innovation, and invention. Reed will also be designed as a living lab for sustainable practices. An over-arching goal for the design is the encouragement of creativity, curiosity, and joy within an actively engaged community.

“The new design provides world-class learning environments for future students, including bringing natural lights into spaces whenever possible. The committee especially appreciates VMDO’s flexible and versatile designs which allow reconfiguration of classroom and shared spaces, ensuring the new building can serve future, unplanned demands and uses. VMDO’s experience with educational spaces and attention to detail is obvious throughout the design.”

– Mr. Hans Bauman Chair of Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) for Reed Elementary

Client: Arlington Public Schools

Location: Arlington, VA

Discipline: Primary + Elementary Schools

Completion: 2021

Size: 110,672 SF