USDA Child Development Center

Location: Washington, D.C.

Project type: Child Care

Client: GSA


  • preschool aged child care
  • historic preservation
  • adaptive reuse of existing building
  • certified LEED Silver

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Development Center is in the Sidney R. Yates Building, located at the intersection of Independence Avenue and 14th Street, just southwest of The National Mall Historic District boundary adjacent to the Washington Monument and Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The purpose of this project was to relocate the 10,932 square foot Child Development Center (CDC) from the basement level to the first floor. The design complies with the GSA Child Care Design Guide, regional licensing requirements, building and life safety codes, while creating a beautiful learning space, rich with natural light and enhances the child's appreciation of texture and materials. The center will provide child care services to US government employees infant to pre-school aged children.

Simple geometric and flowing shapes dominate the design of the USDA Child Development Center. The new glazed entrance facade features an etched graphic that appears like the flow of a field of sunflowers or cornstalks. Once inside, a large, round acoustic panel with radiating lights over the curved reception desk simply recalls the geometry of the sun. All details throughout the center are curved for safety and beauty. Materials were carefully selected to be environmentally friendly and draw a connection to the USDA and Forest Service. The center is LEED Silver certified. The design also includes mechanical space, a kitchen, and a staff lounge.