9651 Hawkins Drive Manassas, Virginia 20109 Tel: (571) 292-5900

The Wilson School

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  • LocationArlington, VA
  • General ContractorGilbane Building Company
  • ArchitectLeo Daly/BIG

Project Overview

For additional perspective regarding the design and buld of this unique project, please visit: https://leoadaly.com/perspectives/reimagining-the-vertical-school/

Wilson Secondary School is a $100 million dollar, 181,000 square foot school set in the heart of Arlington, Virginia. The school consists of five (5) steel structure “bars” or floors, each roughly 200 feet in length, that stack on top of each other and fan out about a concrete core pivot point on one end. This unique approach endows the feeling that each floor is a one-story school and allows for the roof of each bar to be a green roof for beautiful aesthetics and community space. The structure consists of over 2,300 tons of structural steel and the façade included 30,000 square feet of curtain wall and 34,000 square feet of brick rainscreen, complimented with precast panels and metal panel systems at select elevations.

The Corium Brick Rainscreen system was utilized for this project, and consists of a special molded gloss-white brick whose profile allows it to snap-in to a horizontal tray system, which fastens to vertical steel support clips attached to the substrate. The system is left with open joints at the top and bottom to allow for proper air flow, drainage, and moisture evaporation. The Wilson School Brick Rainscreen includes:

  • 180,000 each glazed thin brick.
  • Historic Lime-based point up mortar.
  • Horizontally oriented brick soffits.
  • Continuous vertical load transfer framing every 24-32 inches on center.
  • Vertical control/expansion joints in an offset “zipper” pattern in lieu of a straight line.
  • Seven (7) inch insulation behind the brick, with an 11-3/8” dimension from substrate to face of brick.

Calvert Masonry installed all of the above components, in addition to a complete Air Barrier system inspected by ABAA, 6,000 Veneer Backup CMU, and 24,000 interior CMU.

The project faced multiple challenges, including:

  • In order to accommodate the 11-3/8” brick face to substrate dimension, the brick support clip system had to be redesigned in-house to continuous double-angle galvanized steel to accommodate load forces.
  • To accommodate Architect design intent to remove visible horizontal expansion joints within the brick face, special slotted steel was designed and installed to move the expansion joints to the metal panel coping level at all floors.
  • At the pivot point corner of the school where all five bars stack on top of each other, several scaffolding & access systems were employed – tube scaffold, light duty swing stage, and articulating boom lifts all ran simultaneously. Work was carefully sequenced here to work up to 3 floors at once while not working over top of ourselves.
  • A large triangular 1,200 square foot brick soffit required installation of 3 FRACO mast climbing units (2 bridged and 1 offset) setup together as one working platform.
  • Development of custom winter protection methods to protect lime-based mortar, utilizing heated lights, tarps, and flexible supports to enclose 4,000 square feet of wall.