While public schools may not be known for their forward-thinking designs, The Heights Building in Arlington, Va. is the exception. The 180,000sf building is now home to two secondary schools and 775 students. The Heights building exemplifies modern architecture, energy efficiency and a sense of community that connects students with the surrounding neighborhood as well as a focus on indoor-outdoor learning.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in connection with Leo A Daly, designed the secondary school with a bold, energetic vision. The school consists of a stack of five rectangular levels that rotate around the main atrium. Common areas, such as the school’s auditorium, gymnasium, library, and cafeteria, are connected to the atrium, creating a range of spaces where students can engage, socialize, and study. Each classroom level has a direct connection to exterior green terraces, creating a sense of openness and opportunities for indoor-outdoor learning that set it apart from traditional school settings. A 18,700sf recreation field creates vast opportunities for community-wide activities.
The glazing systems provided by YKK AP America were integral to providing a high-performance facade. Its enerGfacade® YUW 750 TU XT unitized curtain wall system was used to curb the building’s energy appetite in areas where large spans of glass were needed while YKK AP’s high performance YCW 750 SplineTech® curtain wall was customized for use in areas where the design was more intricate. The building is currently on track for a LEED Gold rating.