Last week a request was submitted to the Arlington County Board to designate the Arlington Public Schools Education Center and the David M. Brown Planetarium, both located at 1426 North Quincy Street, as an Arlington County Local Historic District. The request is referred to the HALRB for study to determine if the criteria are met for consideration of designation. This designation would provide protection for the buildings and would create “design standards” for any changes to the buildings. The request to designate is the first step in a public hearing process. The HALRB, Planning Commission and County Board will hold public hearings on the designation. Read more about designating a historic property in Arlington.
Designed by Cleveland-based architecture firm Ward and Schneider, the building is an excellent example of “New Formalism” which combined classical design elements with modern materials and techniques. Bethlehem Steel used a new cost-saving technique of steel wedges to construct the building. Both buildings were completed in 1969, having been funded by a 1965 bond referendum and designed with community-wide input. In 1967 a special citation from the American Association of School Administrators said the center “should attract the public and focus attention on the importance of education.” The two buildings were built as a pair and symbolize the great civic pride of Arlington and its’ investment in the future.
A copy of the detailed nomination request can be found here. Reading this you can get a great understanding of the story behind these buildings.