American University School of International Service / William McDonough + Partners and Quinn Evans | Architects

© Prakash Patel/

How can we design a building that inspires students to dream? This charge— articulated by the dean of the country’s largest foreign service program— guided the design team for this new building on the American University campus.  Serving as a symbol of the school’s tradition of global service, the anticipated LEED Gold certified building provides a vibrant setting for teaching, research and public dialogue.

Architects: William McDonough + Partners and Quinn Evans|Architects
Location: Washington DC, USA
Design Mechanical Engineer: Taylor Engineering
Mechanical Engineer of Record: GHT Limited
Structural Engineer: McMullan Associates
Daylighting Consultant: Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates
Civil Engineer: Delon Hampton & Associates
LEED Consultant: Sustainable Design Consulting
Fire Code and Suppression Consultant: PEG
General Contractor: Whiting-Turner
Client: American University
Project Area: 75,000 sqf
Photographs: Prakash Patel/William McDonough + Partners

© Prakash Patel/William McDonough + Partners

Design strategies, including on-site generation of renewable energy, Cradle to Cradle material specifications, and abundant fresh air and daylight, were developed and prioritized in close collaboration with the School’s students, faculty and staff to serve as pedagogical tools capable of demonstrating the highest degrees of environmental responsibility.


The sunlit atrium provides a welcome meeting place for the School and its visitors as they work towards social justice, the eradication of poverty, and world peace. Global connections are celebrated on the building exterior as well, where the pattern of the perforated frieze is inspired by the Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map of the world.

campus plan
energy diagram
light and air diagram

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "American University School of International Service / William McDonough + Partners and Quinn Evans | Architects" 10 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>