Located in the historic Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington, DC, Stead Park Community Center is a modernization and significant addition to the existing community center--a carriage house originally constructed in 1888—to foster and engage movement, play, interaction, access and programming for all community members in this vibrant and diverse urban neighborhood. Sensitive to the layered history of Stead Park and the importance of the park’s open space in the dense Dupont Circle Historic district, the design emphasizes the open qualities of the park, visibility to the historic structure, while providing accessible, integrated spaces for exercise, play, interaction, and belonging for all neighbors and visitors. As the first net-zero community center in Washington, DC, this facility highlights the District’s commitment to sustainable practices, serving as a visible, educational tool for residents and visitors.

Located in the historic Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington, DC, Stead Park Community Center is a modernization and significant addition to the existing community center--a carriage house originally constructed in 1888—to foster and engage movement, play, interaction, access and programming for all community members in this vibrant and diverse urban neighborhood. Sensitive to the layered history of Stead Park and the importance of the park’s open space in the dense Dupont Circle Historic district, the design emphasizes the open qualities of the park, visibility to the historic structure, while providing accessible, integrated spaces for exercise, play, interaction, and belonging for all neighbors and visitors. As the first net-zero community center in Washington, DC, this facility highlights the District’s commitment to sustainable practices, serving as a visible, educational tool for residents and visitors.

Stead Park Recreation Center
Stead Park Recreation Center

The new facility features the existing historic carriage house as the primary building entry, welcoming visitors to engage the new community through direct access to the historic structure. The new addition primarily consists of a variety of multipurpose spaces serving a diversity of ages, abilities, programming, fitness, and education levels, including a large community gathering space, flexible multipurpose spaces for group classes, arts, education, and physical fitness, and a demonstration kitchen. Additionally, indoor and outdoor spaces for multiage groups, such as young children, teens, and seniors connect and expand the possibilities for the how community members can utilize their public space. A large solar canopy provides on-site energy as well as shade for recreation spaces. Site upgrades include a revitalized splash pad, entry plaza and ramp, play equipment, and large outdoor plazas and gathering spaces.

The new facility features the existing historic carriage house as the primary building entry, welcoming visitors to engage the new community through direct access to the historic structure. The new addition primarily consists of a variety of multipurpose spaces serving a diversity of ages, abilities, programming, fitness, and education levels, including a large community gathering space, flexible multipurpose spaces for group classes, arts, education, and physical fitness, and a demonstration kitchen. Additionally, indoor and outdoor spaces for multiage groups, such as young children, teens, and seniors connect and expand the possibilities for the how community members can utilize their public space. A large solar canopy provides on-site energy as well as shade for recreation spaces. Site upgrades include a revitalized splash pad, entry plaza and ramp, play equipment, and large outdoor plazas and gathering spaces.

Stead Park Recreation Center
Stead Park Recreation Center

VMDO’s attention to detail and ability to thoughtfully explain design decisions has been remarkable. VMDO particularly shines with their ability to listen to the client’s needs and clearly articulate a vision that captures the goals of all stakeholders. At a recent meeting with DC's Commission of Fine Arts, VMDO received glowing reviews with regard to the Stead designs. In all of my years with DC Department of Parks and Recreation, I don’t recall a more positive design response from the CFA – it was truly remarkable.

– Brent Sisco Planning and Design Officer, DC Department of Parks and Recreation
Stead Park Recreation Center
Stead Park Recreation Center
Stead Park Recreation Center
Stead Park Recreation Center

Client: Department of General Services

Location: Washington, DC

Discipline: Community Spaces

Completion: May 2023

Size: 15,000 SF New Construction 1,750 SF Renovation

Filed in:

, Athletics + Community, Community Spaces