Stewart Student Center
Episcopal High School | Alexandria, Virginia
Episcopal High School was struggling to fully utilize the Stewart Student Center, built as a gymnasium in 1912, due its to poor internal configuration and a lack of accessibility. Drawing inspiration from the building’s existing architectural character, however, we worked with the school to design a series of significant alterations that opened up the space – both literally and symbolically – to the EHS community.
Huge new two-story glazed infill panels replaced solid brick walls in seven of the building’s twenty bays, drastically increasing the interior natural light. A new porch on the west end overlooks the track and main competition field, providing a great overlook for sporting events, and a new entry on the north side was carefully crafted using brick and limestone salvaged from the demolition of the brick walls. Grand columns at the east entry were restored.
Access to the building was opened on three sides and brought to grade, eliminating both physical and mental barriers to entry. Grade was lowered to the south side, allowing direct access to the basement and a new mid-level entry on the north side connects directly to both the basement level and the first floor. These improvements worked carefully around an existing large tree treasured by the school community.
Removing a section of the floor between the basement & first level and infilling a second floor at the level of the original raised running track created a dynamic three-story space that is a great place to “see and be seen.” While the exterior focuses on the classical, the interior fixtures and furnishings break with tradition to create an upscale lounge experience that supports as many types of interactions and experiences as possible. Flexible seating abounds, and a game room and TV Lounge are on the upper level, tucked beneath the exposed beams of the original gym span.
Landscape completed in association with Michael Vergason Landscape Architects.
Associated Builders and Contractors of Metro Washington & Virginia, Excellence in Construction Award - Historic Restoration, 2018
Size: 13,000 sf
Budget: $9.5 Million
Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape, Sustainability