A soaring atrium occupies center stage in the renovation of Woodrow Wilson High School.

Class Act

Woodrow Wilson High School is reborn

Built in 1935, Woodrow Wilson High School in Northwest DC had fallen into disrepair over the years. In 2009, it was designated a historic landmark—just when the city was finally preparing to renovate it. cox graae + spack architects was chosen for the job based on a design plan that preserved the original Palladian-style buildings while integrating new construction. The goal was to modernize Wilson’s original 305,000 square feet while adding 71,000 more. The project was completed in 2011.

The updated, LEED Gold-certified campus now offers a green roof, rainwater harvesting, energy-saving systems and more. It houses a performing arts center, aquatic center and athletic center with two gyms. The school’s new cafeteria spills into a four-story atrium. This 10,000-square-foot gathering place (pictured here) soars to a skylight roof supported by tree columns.

ARCHITECTURE: CHRISTOFFER A. GRAAE, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, cox graae + spack architects, Washington, DC. ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: FANNING HOWEY, Washington, DC. PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Brailsford & Dunlavey, Washington, DC; McKissack & McKissack, Washington, DC. CONTRACTOR: GCS-SIGAL, LLC, Washington, DC.