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The Heights Building

Arlington, VA

To contend with its dense urban site, this new 775-seat public school building was designed with a unique geometry, incorporating five traditional one-story bar-style classrooms stacked atop one another and rotated around a pivot point.

Silman worked with BIG and Leo A Daly (executive architect), whose design envisioned an efficient vertical organization that maintained the feeling of a single story school building.

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The five rotating classroom bars provide views of landscaped terraces that lead from the various educational to the athletic field. The terraces are designed to support a variety of intensive plantings and landscape elements.

The five rotating classroom bars provide views of landscaped terraces that lead from the various educational to the athletic field. The terraces are designed to support a variety of intensive plantings and landscape elements.

The school’s program includes classrooms, labs, music rooms, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, a media center, an auditorium, and support spaces. The scope of site work proposed includes a hardscape plaza as well as parent drop off drive lane.

The rotating bars create large volumes below that are ideal for large school functions. The framing above the gym, library, and atrium used a combination of plate girders, standard and double sections, and trusses.

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Throughout design and construction, Silman worked closely with the construction team and steel fabricator to ensure economical solutions and constructability. Early meetings were essential in coordinating steel availability with the construction schedule, erection methods, preferred connection types, and site logistics. Silman integrated analysis models and BIM throughout the process to track tonnage and costs associated with critical and typical structure.

Throughout design and construction, Silman worked closely with the construction team and steel fabricator to ensure economical solutions and constructability. Early meetings were essential in coordinating steel availability with the construction schedule, erection methods, preferred connection types, and site logistics. Silman integrated analysis models and BIM throughout the process to track tonnage and costs associated with critical and typical structure.

Silman staff created a 3D flythrough of the Heights Building to better illustrate the school’s structural system. You can watch the video here.

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