Marie Reed Learning Center Washington, DC


Bradley Site Design prepared a dynamic site design for Marie Reed Learning Center in the vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. The project is unique in that it is a highly active civic space, community recreation area, school and day care facility. BSD created a campus plan that defines and protects school space while providing for the many neighborhood activities.

Located along a steep slope, the elevation change across the site is dramatic. BSD used these topographic features to create an exciting sequence of spaces, each one leading to the next in a logical order. The elevation changes themselves are elements of the experiential learning theme, incorporating bioretention areas and vertical gardens planted with lush layers of native materials. At the top of the site an iconic vista to the Washington Monument is showcased at a prominent overlook.

A prominent path to the Department of Parks and Recreation area departs from the same node as the school entry sequence, and slices across the civic space to the DPR entry on a lower level. The path descends on a grand staircase to an interim plaza that features a splash pad and seating area overlooking the playing fields beyond. An accessible route winds through heavily planted vertical gardens, and the tiers are echoed on the other side of the stair with retaining walls that correspond with the rhythm of the building columns.

Areas for passive and active play, nature discovery and outdoor learning have been created. The design team is working with a diverse and highly engaged stakeholder group to plan and program spaces and site elements that accommodate their specific programs.

Department of General Services
Department of Parks and Recreation
Washington, DC

$61.5 million

Project Manager
Bel St. John Day

2018 AIA Potomac Valley Excellence in Design

Image Credit
George Brown (1, 3, 5-8)