Fourth Presbyterian School

Location: Potomac, Md.

Project type: elementary school

Client: Fourth Presbyterian School


  • multipurpose room
  • library
  • administration areas
  • art classroom
  • music classroom
  • computer lab
  • science lab
  • language classroom
  • 13 classrooms for pre-K through eighth grade
  • outdoor trellis area
  • outdoor flag court
  • recreation fields

One of the major objectives in the design of this new 56,900-square-foot building was to move away from the conventional large-box form of other schools to create a unique identity. The client goal for the private school is to teach students to love and appreciate God's world and to learn from it in order to do their part for the environment.

The placement of the building atop the site allows for an unfolding experience. The multipurpose room, the first piece seen from the road through a field of trees, gives hints of the architectural elements consistent throughout the school. Visitors are embraced by the crescent shaped building, fronted by a stone garden wall and wood trellis. The large opening invites natural light to enter the school and allows spatial extension of the classrooms. The beauty of the site is expressed upon entering the school, seeing through a double-height window framing and focusing on the expansive landscape. The lower-level gallery and classrooms in the rear of the building extend out to a flag court which is defined by a lower dry stack stone garden wall. The whole school will be able to gather together in this outdoor classroom, engaging the students, landscape and building.

This project received the Collabetition Silver Award .