Each year, TASA/TASB hosts a competition to celebrate excellence in the planning and design of learning environments throughout the state of Texas. The competition showcases both new and renovation projects, awarding Stars of Distinction to projects demonstrating outstanding achievements in a community context, enhanced value, and environments that support learners. BRW is pleased to announce our 2020 entry, Woodrow Wilson High School (Phase II Addition), received three Stars of Distinction.

Woodrow Wilson High school first opened its doors in September of 1928. Designed by prominent Dallas architect Mark Lemmon, the original portion of the building provides an important example of the era’s architectural style. At its grand opening, the future Dallas Landmark was touted as the most innovative high school in Dallas, if not the entire state.

Project Description
BRW’s Phase II efforts, initiated in 2016, address critical needs for space as well as the restoration of critical building systems and architectural elements. The three-story addition provides 24 teaching spaces, a new 1,500 seat competition Gym, two practice courts, locker rooms, and storage for Athletics. Also included are Art and Ceramics studios, a new Band Hall, and significant upgrades to Engineering and Robotics labs to support the school’s robust, STEAM-focused learning. BRW’s treatment of the addition is sensitive to the school’s historically significant architecture. The new building connects to the historic school with a transparent glass element that clearly defines and separates the old and new while taking architectural cues from the original structure to provide a modern counterpoint.

The Exhibit of School Architecture
BRW’s latest work at Woodrow Wilson High school will be one of 48 projects included in the 2020-21 Exhibit of School Architecture. Judged by a panel of 12 jurors comprised of school board members, school administrators, and members of the A4LE Southern Region, BRW’s work was found to be distinctive in three categories: Community, Planning, and Transformation.

As one of the oldest high schools in Dallas, Woodrow Wilson is a defining presence in its community. BRW’s focused effort to preserve the original character of the iconic school building while providing modern learning environments exhibits respect for local culture, the building’s heritage, and its purpose. Jurors awarded the project the Community Star of Distinction for its authenticity, relevance, and dedication to honoring the school’s original historical significance for the surrounding neighborhoods.

BRW’s response to DISD’s goals for Woodrow Wilson resulted in a design that is sympathetic to the existing school while achieving maximum area for every budget dollar spent. Aligning the addition with the height of the historic structure and connecting floors via transition elements that clearly define the old and new, it is a bold recognition of the District’s commitment to taking a sensitive approach to their historic buildings. The addition received a Star of Distinction for Planning for the thoughtful articulation of design concepts and the incorporation of campus needs and community desires throughout the planning and design process.

The transformation of the learning environment at Woodrow Wilson High School was a vital and collaborative effort to adapt the cherished building to meet the needs of Dallas ISD’s evolving curriculum. BRW worked closely with community leaders, orchestrating bench-marking tours to build enthusiasm and gain a better understanding of how modern learning models fit into their vision for the school. The Phase II Addition received a Star for this years’ Special Area of Distinction for School Transformation as an outstanding example of how the project redefines learning at Woodrow Wilson and supports its students in their mastery of 21st Century learning skills.

Congratulations to our K12 Team for this much-deserved recognition of their tireless dedication to Texas public education!