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Project timeline

2001 – 2006


Education & Research

Location Change this

1901 Independence Avenue
20003 Washington DC

Current state


Also known as Change this

Saint Coletta School

Architect Change this

Client Change this

St Coletta

Cost Change this

$32 million

Gross floor area Change this


St. Coletta School Change this

Washington DC, USA
by Michael Graves Change this

Drawing of the building in relation to the site

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St. Coletta is a nonprofit charter school that serves individuals with cognitive disabilities, autism, and physical disabilities.

Guided by the school’s philosophy that all children are special, the architects Michael Graves & Associates, addressed formal, functional, social and ecological concerns in the design. The outcome is a facility that is being promoted as a national model for the USA.

The 30,000 square meter building has its largest elements, the entrance and common facilities, along Independence Avenue. These are expressed as geometric pavilions clad in colorful glazed tile.

Instructional suites for 50-70 students are articulated as a series of “houses” with private gardens, each relating to the scale of the adjacent residential neighborhood along 19th Street. Internally, the houses front onto a double-height common space called the “village green.” The interior of each house is painted a different color, which becomes a way-finding device and also helps the students identify with their “community,” a vital part of the school’s teaching philosophy.


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