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The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, Third Place

Both inside and out, the Langston Hughes Elementary School responds to the needs of its students, which include kids with developmental disabilities and special health needs. Adherence to the principles of universal design led to elements like the use of abundant natural light, which is better han fluorescent lighting for students with certain disabilities, and classrooms specifically designed to accommodate equipment for special-needs students and provide them with a sensory experience that encourages them to participate more actively in their education.The building’s innovations make it one of the Public Buildings Commission’s models for new schools elsewhere in the city.

At the center of the building is a landscaped garden isible from every part of the school, complete with raised grass beds to make the lawn accessible to wheelchairs. This beautiful asis has educational plantings and features a rainwater runoff system, one of the building’s many environmentally sustainable elements. An extensive reen roof and an innovative radiant ir dual duct floor heating system also contributed to the design, which is expected to achieve a LEED Silver certification.

For unsurpassed attention to the eeds of the school’s students and commitment to creating a unique and sustainable learning environment, SMNG-A Architects and Langston ughes Elementary School are this year’s Third Place winner of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design.