An inclusive learning environment integrating academics and athletics

Potomac School, Center for Athletics and Community, McLean, VA

The Center for Community and Athletics at Potomac School is conceived as a new place on campus that reinforces the institutional beliefs that intellectual development, love of learning, and strength of character are complementary and equally essential educational goals. The new facility improves the school’s ability to provide a balanced educational experience that integrates academics, athletics, and the arts within a diverse, inclusive learning community.

The Potomac School campus is a collection of approachable scaled buildings that have a simple material palette of stone, glass and stucco supported by exposed structures of steel and wood. Buildings have a strong indoor/outdoor relationship. Campus buildings are placed and shaped so that they appear to cascade down the rolling topography. Our concept for the new facility was shaped and inspired by the program, the site, the connections to the campus and the culture of the school.

The design solution establishes a new campus location that is intended to connect. It connects all of the athletic programs by becoming the primary location for all indoor athletic fitness, training and support while providing a multitude of state-of-the-art spaces for indoor athletic competition. It connects to the natural campus environment by simultaneously embracing the geometry of the site and the geometry of the campus, nestling into the hill, embracing the pond, being filled with light, and bringing the outside in. It also connects the Potomac School community by providing small intimate exterior and interior gathering spaces and larger flexible multi-purpose event spaces.