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Georgetown Day School - Lower Middle School

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  • LocationWashington, DC
  • General ContractorDavis Construction
  • ArchitectGensler Architects
  • Property OwnerGeorgetown Day School

Project Overview

The GDS Lower Middle School features a new 155,000 square feet educational facility with two (2) below grade and four (4) above grade levels, plus a 35,000 square feet Parking Garage structure with athletic fields above.  The building façade is primarily masonry veneer with strip and punched windows, integrated with precast elements at certain locations. 

The primary Masonry design feature occurs on the first two floors of the school, featuring Arriscraft Linear Series, Long Format Stone units (2-1/4 inch height, up to 24-inch nominal length), in smoky/matte gray color blends created for this project.  These units were called to be installed in a random bond pattern in combination with a raked mortar joint (see Figure 1).  The Architect (Gensler) also required that that no units shorter than eight (8) inches were to be installed in the wall except at corners, and in no case should two head joints align on top of each other.

The biggest challenge for our masons was in the execution of the above design requirements.  A raked joint inherently tends to adversely highlight the variations in both manufacture and mortar joint size tolerances, and this project proved to hold true to that standard.  Also, the long, slender size of the veneer units results in significant material breakage during transport which worked fine with the random bond length criteria, but not as well with the Architect’s minimum length requirements which resulted in a waste factor of roughly 20% (compared to ASTM industry standards of 5% or less).  Additional care was also taken to assure that there was a natural blend of the colors in the wall.

In addition to the primary design feature of the project, the upper floors of the project is a three (3) color blend of brick individually selected and named after the school (the “Georgetown Blend”), which starkly contrasts that of the smokey grey Arriscraft on the lower floors but blends well with the vertical wood columns and wood paneling placed throughout.

Calvert Masonry is pleased to have teamed with Davis Construction, Gensler Architects and Potomac Valley Brick to deliver this very aesthetically pleasing project for the Georgetown Day School.