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History and Inspiration: How Integration has Informed Renewal Designs at Two DC Area Schools


History often inspires design. This has been especially true for two key school renewal projects in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA. In 1959, thanks to court ordered rulings, four African American students were enrolled at the Stratford Middle School. Approximately 100 police officers stood guard in case of protests and the students entered via a back door into the School gymnasium. In the 1970's the Marie Reed Learning Center was developed to replace a pair of formerly segregated school buildings with in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood. In addition to an integrated elementary school, the Center includes recreation facilities and a Community of Hope medical center. In this Session, we explore the ways that these histories have been celebrated in recent renewal designs. At Stratford, a new lobby has been created in part to celebrate the place where the first black student entered the School, and a history display has been integrally woven into entrance sequence. At Marie Reed, the Project features a new Legacy Gallery – carefully placed to celebrate the Schools history and its place with the Adams-Morgan Community. Michael Jones, one of the first four African American students to attend the formerly all-white Stratford Junior High School and a key participant in the design process will participate in the presentation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the Civil Rights Era History associated with two Washington Metropolitan Area Schools: Stratford Junior High and Marie Reed Community Learning Center.
  2. Develop a heightened appreciation for the opportunities inherent within existing and historically significant school buildings.
  3. Develop a heightened appreciation of the opportunities associated with commemoration and exhibit related places in educational facilities.
  4. Identify wonderful opportunities for community growth; how we can encourage student, teacher, administration and neighborly engagement during the design process.


  • Jeffrey Luker, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Quinn Evans
  • Devon Hogan, AIA, LEED AP, Associate, Quinn Evans
  • Michael Jones, Jones Leader, Arlington County Historic Preservation


March 18-20, 2021   Washington, D.C.

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