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

www.studio27arch.com

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

Annex at dusk. Image: Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

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

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of design completion: 2014

Year of substantial project completion: 2015

Gross conditioned floor area: 45,100 sq ft

Gross unconditioned floor area: 0 sq ft

Number of stories: 3

Project Climate Zone: ASHRAE 4A

Annual hours of operation: 42,253

Site area: 142,052 sq ft

Project site context/setting: urban

Cost of construction, excluding furnishing: $11,501,000

Number of residents, occupants, visitors: 851

Project Team

Acoustical Consultant: Hush Acoustics

Commissioning Firm: Interface Engineering

Design Landscape Architect: Siteworks Studio

Engineer - Civil: Christopher Consultants

Engineer - MEP: CS Consulting Engineers

Engineer - Stuctural: Ehlert/Bryan, Inc.

Food Service Consultant: Next Step Design

General Contractor: Forrester Construction

Landscape Architect of Record: Carvalho + Good Landscape  

Project Manager: TenSquare

Third party rating systems

LEED: Platinum

Jury

Michelle Addington, Dean, School of Architecture, The University of Texas Austin, Austin, Texas

Jennifer Devlin-Herbert, FAIA, EHDD. San Francisco

Kevin Schorn, AIA, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, New York

Julie V. Snow, FAIA, Snow Kreilich, Minneapolis

M. Susan Ubbelohde, LOISOS + UBBELOHDE, Alameda, California

Jury comments

Mundo Verde and its project team have achieved something that will have a positive impact on its students and the broader community. 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.

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. A 25,000-gallon cistern holds rainwater for reuse, while the gardens have increased site vegetation from zero to 40 percent. This is a great example of high performance achieved within constrained costs.

Image credits

'La Casita' and 'La Casa'

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

Annex at Dusk

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

Emma Watters - S27_MVPCS_Indoor Outdoor Classroom

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

Emma Watters - S27_MVPCS_Second Floor Corridor

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

Emma Watters - S27_MVPCS_SidewalkCharetteOverhead

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

Emma Watters - S27_MVPCS_Stair

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

Emma Watters - S27_MVPCS_Zocalo as Gym

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography

Preschool Annex

Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography