Award Winner - May 2011
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Deanwood Community Center & Library

Washington, D.C.

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

EE&K, A Perkins Eastman Company, in Washington, D.C.

Size: 60,000 square feet

Project Cost: $32 million

Quick Tour:

  • Early care and education center
  • Public library
  • Senior center
  • Gymnasium
  • Multipurpose rooms
  • Recording studio
  • Recreational pool with lap lanes, slide and zero-depth entry

The new Deanwood Community Center and Public Library provides a wealth of resources for people of all ages in the Deanwood neighborhood and across the District of Columbia. Located on a 5.8-acre park adjacent to the Deanwood Metro station and the Ron Brown Middle School, this sustainable new center has revitalized a formerly unsafe park, encouraged development in the neighborhood, and greatly enhanced the learning and recreational opportunities available in the local community.

With an innovative combination of programs, the LEED Silver building features more than 60,000 square feet, including an early care and education center, a public library, a senior center, a gym, multipurpose rooms, a recording studio, and a recreational pool with lap lanes, waterslide and zero-depth entry.

Designed as a joint-use facility for the Department of Parks and Recreation and the District of Columbia Public Library, the center showcases how shared spaces and facilities can create synergies through co-location, ultimately providing a better sense of community.

Program elements are rendered using a modern vocabulary and massing that responds to the varied urban context, but the center also draws inspiration from the city's great Beaux-Arts public buildings to create a series of public spaces that are the essential connective tissue of the building and campus.

The interior "main street" provides access to each program space and provides a space for neighbors to meet informally while taking advantage of the center's diverse offerings. Aligned with the nearby Metro station, this space unifies the site and opens onto a main exterior courtyard. This courtyard and adjacent sports fields are joined to the street via a large expanse of glass running along the south elevation, unifying the program elements on the exterior with the activities taking place inside.

The design features transparency throughout the building to encourage engagement in the center's various activities, and by association, engage each other. Each program element has a welcoming front door onto the interior street, enabling people of all ages to come together, relax and enjoy views across the park.

The design expresses the diverse array of major program elements, including the pool, gym, library, early care and multipurpose rooms, distinctly within the massing and through the use of a durable palette of metal panels, glazing systems and architectural ground face block. The pool and the library, perhaps the most civic elements of the program, bookend the street with larger volumes expressed in open, glassy vocabularies. By contrast, smaller-scale elements, including the Early Care and Education Center and multipurpose rooms, are rendered in masonry with more modest fenestration. The street unifies the whole with its cantilevered roofline and curtainwall system spanning the length of the building.

The building and site were designed for easy maintenance, energy and water savings, stormwater management, maximum green space and to offer a healthy indoor environment that fosters environmental stewardship. It co-locates many uses typically found in dispersed locations, helping to minimize car trips within the community as users can arrive via Metro, bus or even foot to pursue an array of activities.

A veritable showcase for what can happen when diverse entities unify their community-serving goals into a single facility, the Deanwood Community Center and Library is a sustainable design that sets the stage for community activities, reinforcing community bonds and helping weave a denser social fabric for the local neighborhood.


W H A T   T H E   J U D G E S   S A I D

"Wonderfully open and airy, great visual connections to the surrounding community."

Janet Jordan

"Bright, dynamic interiors well done with an extremely restrained palette. Successful integration of outdoor and indoor spaces. The building appears permeable and connected to its surroundings. Nice integration of recreation and library program."

Daniel Heuberger

"The integration of the diverse programming is a model of what community centers can be! The 'street' concept works beautifully to reinforce and unify the 'neighborhood' of programs. Nice touch having the outside courtyard off the street. Allows for an abundance of natural light. In fact, the project feels so light and inviting, it will surely be immensely successful! Great ideas executed well. Makes for very good architecture."

Rudy Fabiano

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Structural: ReStl Designers Inc.

Aquatic Consultant: Aquatic Design Group

MEP: Setty & Associates

Landscape Architect: Peter Liu Landscape Architecture

Civil: Milan Grace

LEED Management/Coordination: Alvine & Associates

Sustainable Design Consulting: EMO EnergySolutions

Cost Management: Project Cost

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