George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health doesn’t just promote public health through teaching—its smart design also steers people to make healthier everyday choices. Boston-based Payette Architects and D.C.-based Ayers Saint Gross Architects designed the $75 million LEED Platinum-certified academic building, located just a few blocks away from the White House. The architects designed a beautiful, centrally located stairway to encourage physical exercise over taking the elevator, and did away with vending machines and coffee bars in favor of kitchens to promote cooking and healthy eating.
The 161,100-square-foot Milken Institute School of Public Health was a difficult design challenge given its many programmatic requirements, odd triangular geometry, and restrictive zoning regulations that capped the allowable floor area and imposed a 90-foot maximum height limitation. The architects successfully overcame the unusual site geometry with an exposed post-tensioned cast-in-place concrete structural system and a seven-story atrium that fills the building with natural light and creates a sense of spaciousness without exceeding the allowed building area.
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