Carlin Springs Elementary School

Arlington, VA
Project Highlights
  • Arlington Public Schools
  • 88,000 sf, 790 students
  • New Construction
  • 2003 Shirley Cooper Award for Outstanding Educational Environment, American Association of School Administrators + CEFPI + AIA
  • 2001 AIA Merit Award, AIA Potomac Valley
  • 2002 Honorable Mention Design Award, Starnet Flooring Cooperative
  • 2003 Award of Excellence, Virginia Department of Education
  • 2002-2003 Outstanding New School Building Design, Virginia Department of Education/V.E.F.P.
  • 2001 Award of Excellence, Virginia School Boards Association
  • 2003 Citation Award, National School Board Association

Making a world of difference.

With many of its students new to the country, language, culture and educational system of the United States, Carlin Springs Elementary School needed to serve many functions. Most importantly, the school must educate its students to become the leaders of tomorrow. But the school also needed to serve as a center for the community, where families could find resources and share experiences.

Carlin Springs, which shares its site with G+P’s Kenmore Middle School, makes its students and families feel at home but gives a nod to the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural student body. The facade showcases mosaic maps of the world, reinforcing the school’s international connection. The school’s Main Street displays flags from 50 countries, representing the nations from which the students hail. Even the floor patterns depict rivers and mountain ranges, connecting students to the vast landscapes of the world. These carefully considered details reflect the love of global ecology and global community that Carlin Springs hopes to instill in its students.

The school also serves as a community center, with space for high intensity language training, ESOL, Extended Learning Areas and immersion studies. The student and family service suite, centrally located within the building, houses social workers, psychologists and counselors, all staffed to support the new families. In addition, the school’s design allows the public spaces such as the gymnasium and cafeteria to be separated from the academic areas, vital to the facility’s use as a community center.