The Heights Building is a primary and secondary school project by Bjarke Ingels Group located in Arlington, Virginia. The two existing secondary school programs in the city consist of a building – about 17,000 square meters – that can accommodate the new 775 students. Heights Building, designed as a series of green terraces spreading around a central axis, aims to be an art-oriented educational facility with extensive facilities.
Located on a compact site bounded by roads and Rosslyn Highlands Park on three sides, the building has rectangular volumes and green roofs that enclose the classrooms. Green roofs on each floor become an extension of the classroom and a closed-open learning environment is created for both students and teachers. This unique setup of the BIG team creates a kind of educational oasis rather than a traditional school structure.
The school’s four volumes around an axis are divided by a central staircase that cuts and rotates through this volume. Thus, the four-tier terrace is made suitable for students to walk outside between different terraces. The team also believes that such a setup will create a stronger link between the neighborhood and the school that grows vertically. From the gradually progressing green terraces, it is designed to be used as classroom and quiet study areas at the top level. The large first terrace – and in addition to the school’s recreation area – are intended as public event venues for in-school events and even various neighborhood events.
Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
Design: Bjarke Ingels
Project Team: Aran Coakley, Sean Franklin, Tony-Saba Shiber, Ji-young Yoon, Adam Sheraden, Amina Blacksher, Anton Bashkaev, Benjamin Caldwell, Bennett Gale, Benson Chien, Cadence Bayley, Cristian Lera, Daisy Zhong, Deborah Campbell, Douglass Alligood, Elena Bresciani, Elnaz Rafati, Evan Rawn, Francesca Portesine, Ibrahim Salman, Jack Gamboa, Jan Leenknegt, Janice Rim, Jin Xin, Josiah Poland, Julie Kaufman, Kam Chi Cheng, Ku Hun Chung, Margherita Gistri, Maria Sole Bravo, Mark Rakhmanov, Mateusz Rek, Maureen Rahman, Nicholas Potts, Pablo Costa, Ricardo Palma, Robyne Some, Romea Muryn, Saecheol Oh, Seo Young Shin, Seth Byrum Shu Zhao, Sidonie Muller, Simon David, Tammy Teng, Terrence Chew, Valentina Mele , Vincenzo Polsinelli, Zach Walters, Ziad Shehab
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA
Year of construction: 2013-2019