Prior to its merging with Perkins Eastman, The People’s Republic of China hired EE&K to design new housing for the staff of its Education Office, located about a mile from the Chinese Embassy. The existing complex was outmoded and in need of replacing in favor of a structure that would take advantage of its prime location on a raised elevation with views of Washington, DC’s famed Rock Creek Park.
The new facility includes 27 apartment units to house permanent and visiting staff of the Ministry of Education and scholars participating in various programs hosted through the embassy’s education office. The building also contains reception and recreation rooms for residents and education office staff. The design matches the low-lying scale of the neighboring apartment buildings, but takes advantage of the steeply sloping site to conceal underground parking and service areas that weren’t available within the previous structure.
The new building reinterprets the residential scale of nearby residential buildings with a contemporary vocabulary of terraced walkways and projecting entry elements, punctuated inside and outside with red accents to reference the Chinese flag. Working with the topography and natural setting, the building anchors at the eastern end of the site with a dramatic pavilion housing the main lobby, recreation rooms, and common program spaces, all of which look out through generous glazed openings to the surrounding trees and landscape.