Wilson Secondary School will comprise five storeys. But Copenhagen- and New York-based BIG wants it to feel like a single-storey block, so has arranged the floors so that they fan out from a single point, creating outdoor spaces above each level.
This arrayed plan is intended to help break up the massing of the 15,800-square-metre building, which will be located in a low-rise residential neighbourhood on the edge of the Rosslyn central business district.
"The school is designed across multiple levels in order to maintain open green space for recreation," said BIG in a statement.
"The building is designed as a series of classroom bars rotated along a single hinge point," it added. "The rotation creates cascading green terraces leading from the educational spaces of the school to the athletic field."
Each of the five classroom floors will lead straight out to a different terrace, increasing the opportunities for outdoor learning. According to BIG, each terrace will facilitate different activities.
The school auditorium and gymnasium, as well as other public spaces, will be slotted beneath the classroom blocks. These spaces will feature varying ceiling heights and will be accessible from the main street front, Wilson Boulevard.
The athletics field will be located on the opposite side of the site. Sunken courtyards and a covered entryway will be created in the two corners of the pitch by raising the ground into a slope.
Wilson Secondary School is the latest in a series of new US projects for BIG, which is also designing Google's new California headquarters in collaboration with Thomas Heatherwick, and the Two World Trade Center skyscraper in Manhattan.
The firm is also working on the Via 57 West "courtscraper" in New York, two twisting apartment blocks in Miami, a masterplan for Pittsburgh's Lower Hill District, and an office building in Philadelphia's Navy Yard.