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Creative Minds International Public Charter School

Creative Minds International Public Charter School
Washington, DC
6,000 SF
February 2021
Grade Level
K-12 Education Interiors Architecture

Creative Minds International (CMI) is an inclusive early childhood, elementary and middle school with an arts- and project-based curriculum. Located in the historic Sherman Building on the Army Forces Retirement Home campus, the school aims to expand into the unoccupied south wing of the building to serve the needs of its growing student population.

This small-scale project was structured to tie into long-term visioning and educational planning for the school. Newman worked with teachers and staff, students, and community members to understand CMI’s authentic context. The charrette process allowed us to find a common set of values and goals and translate those values and goals into the kinds of spaces needed to best support CMI’s vision for the future of their school.

Our targeted renovation of the 6,000 sf space includes three new classrooms, an activated common area, and other support spaces. With the focus on the lighting and acoustical challenges, the design team re-imagined the high-ceilinged common space at the heart of the unoccupied wing for innovative educational programming. The interior finishes are articulated to make the existing and new spaces read as a consistent and welcoming whole. In addition, we addressed deficiencies in the school’s current educational spaces, such as acoustics, technology, safety, and security.