Mundo Verde at Cook Campus
Architect: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
Owner: Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School
Location: Washington, DC
Project site: Historic structure or district
Building program type(s): Education – K-12 School
Mundo Verde is a bilingual, sustainability-focused public charter school, and as such, its campus is a living framework for the curriculum. Through hands-on, real-world thematic units called expeditions, students explore complex sustainability issues. Material, system and resource efficiencies are measured and monitored; stormwater is captured and repurposed; indigenous plantings support migratory insects and birds; and nutrition and wellness are realized via a garden-to-plate-to-compost food education initiative. The school actively provides high-quality education to students PK3- 5th grade with families from all neighborhoods in the District of Columbia including some of the most under-served neighborhoods. The Mundo Verde project revitalized a derelict urban school site as a demonstration for green, sustainable practices, operations, and education. Goal: inspire each child to be a proactive leader in environmental change.
"The project is a compelling example of a renovation—and an equally compelling addition—that improves the entire site. The sustainable practices, in particular, went well beyond the buildings themselves." ~ Jury statement
Mundo Verde is a bilingual, sustainability focused public charter school located in the District of Columbia. From the earliest planning for its permanent home, the school sought to build a sense of place and belonging within the broader community, meet an unparalleled demand for the unique education for sustainability model, increase high quality education available to high need neighborhoods, and revitalize a derelict urban site as a demonstration for green, sustainable practices, operations, and education. For this submission, Mundo Verde submitted two buildings together as a campus. Early on, Mundo Verde had a direct question for the design team: “How can this project teach our students to be global stewards of our environment?” From the existing building renovation to the material and systems efficiency of the Pre-K annex, the entire campus actively fosters learning through environmental living. The project extends beyond LEED through numerous sustainable performance matrices, but most specifically with rigors and intensity with which the sustainability curriculum is inextricably interwoven to the buildings and campus. Through hands on, real world thematic units called expeditions, students explore complex sustainability issues, beginning in their own school building. The school evaluates sustainability integration annually for elements including: Culture, Understanding, Learning, Community and Management using the AuSSI-SA Education for Sustainability Rubric for Schools. The resulting overall $15M project achieved Gold and Platinum LEED certifications for a campus that annually hosts nearly 600 students and achieves deep social, economic, and environment impact. With relative cost effectiveness and targeted investments, the site maximizes positive impact on the environment; counters assumptions that green school projects are costlier and therefore less cost effective; and pushes each investment to have the highest impact on learning and student wellness with a focus on light, water harvesting, outdoor and indoor air quality, and the ability to grow and serve healthy foods on-site.
"The building and the curriculum integrate sustainability into the occupants' daily lives, including the zero-waste food policy and training on how to properly operate the thermostats." ~ Jury statement