Back to School: The ABC’s of Architecture | Washington DC Real Estate News

Located on a 40-acre Olmsted Brothers-created site, inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia and emblematic of history’s Progressive Education Movement (PEM) in its open form and structure, iconic John Handley High School had been eroded by time and convention.rnrnOn the National Register of Historic Places since 1998, the Winchester,Virginia school’s legacy was also tied up in an anomalous decision by Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art: For the duration of WWII, $1 million dollars’ worth of paintings had been secretly squired to a vault in the school’s basement – its Whistlers, Rembrandts and Degas – under 24-hour armed guard to shield them from the possibility of a District attack. Opened in 1923 and renovated in the ’70s, Handley’s programmatic mission, mechanical and electrical systems, fire safety resources and handicapped accessibility were increasingly marked by obsolescence and changing education models. In the case of a school-wide communications system, there was none.rn
Howard Shockey & Sons as Construction Manager, VMDO Architects as architect of record, and Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C. collaborated in a seven-year, three-phase expansion, renovation and restoration of the original 122,000 s.f. structure (310,000 s.f. with later additions) that would, among other things, increase the number of classrooms for approximately 1,190 students. Aspects of the original Walter McCornack design – having undergone late 1970s incursions such as dropped ceilings (that impeded sunlight) and “hermetically sealed”” windows that flailed at the energy conservation practices of the day – would be restored and/or reimagined into multi-functioning