Perkins Eastman | Dunbar High School

Dunbar High School

Washington, DC
The competition-winning design for the new Dunbar High School is inspired by the cherished 1917 building that served the school before its demolition in the 1970s, while its 21st-century learning environments look to the future. The entry plaza is designed to signify the seriousness of purpose of the institution, and the adjacent academic wing, characterized by bay windows and towers, is reminiscent of the historic building.

The new armory of the historic Dunbar provides the inspiration for the principal organizing element of the school’s interior: an atrium-like armory that is the “heart of the school,” connecting the academic wing, sports fields, gym, pool, auditorium, and cafeteria seating areas. The academic wing provides state-of-the-art flexible learning environments that accommodate four distinct academies, breaking down the scale of the 280,000 sf, 1,100-student school. Faculty offices integrated into each level ensure positive interaction between faculty and students throughout the school.

The school is designed to achieve LEED for Schools Platinum certification, featuring a ground source heat pump (geothermal) system, a 500,000 kW photovoltaic array, two 20,000-gallon cisterns for reusing rainwater, enhanced acoustics, low VOC materials, and plentiful daylight and views.
ULI Washington Trends Awards, Excellence in Institutional Development (2017)
USGBC Maryland, Annual Wintergreen Awards for Excellence in Green Building: Educational/School Facility (2015)
AIA DC Chapter Design Awards, Presidential Citation in Sustainable Design (2014)
AIA DC Chapter Design Awards, Award in Architecture (2014)
Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), Charter Awards: Best New Building (Civic) (2014)
Committee of 100 on the Federal City, 2014 Vision Award (2014)
CEFPI NE Regional Award, Project of Distinction (2014)
U.S. Green Building CouncilRoad to Greenbuild 2015View video
U.S. Green Building CouncilReaching New Heights: Dunbar is the Highest Scoring LEED for Schools-NC Project to Date
Architect MagazineWashington, DC’s Dunbar Senior High School Achieves LEED Platinum