Georgetown SCS Receives National Award for Interior Architecture

Georgetown School of Continuing Studies atrium

The much-celebrated home of Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) has been awarded a 2016 Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

“The architects created a space that is light and, thanks to a set of series of hanging staircases in a new four-story atrium, abundantly open for the free flow and spontaneous interactions that a more traditional grassy campus yields,” AIA said in a news release. “An emphasis on light or transparent materials enhanced the brightness and conviviality that a campus center requires.”

Designed by STUDIOS Architecture of Washington, D.C, the dramatic building at 640 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., is a unique example of “adaptive reuse,” having preexisted as a windowless, partially subterranean video production studio. To transform the space into a vibrant downtown hub for learning and community outreach, architect Brian Pilot proposed opening up its vast interior with bright, large-scale art and the extensive use of glass.

“When you see images of the previous space, you’ll see it took a great leap of faith by Georgetown University and the School of Continuing Studies to move forward on it,” Pilot said.

As a result, SCS was able to move from three separate locations into one dynamic, but unified, space.

Before the August 2013 relocation, “there were all these different departments that were compartmentalized,” Pilot said. “It’s a way to make the entire school more collaborative.”

Founded in 1857, AIA has more than 300 state and local chapters. The 18 recipients of the organization’s 2016 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture were selected from about 500 submissions and will be honored in May at the organization’s 2016 National Convention in Philadelphia.

Previous awards for the building include: 2015 DC Award of Excellence in Interior Architecture; 2015 NAIOP Maryland/DC Award of Excellence, Best Renovation/Adaptive Re-use; 2014 SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture, Merit Award; and 2013 DowntownDC BID Landmark Development Project.

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