A Modern Twist at Woodrow Wilson High School

Woodrow Wilson High School was designed in 1928 in the Elizabethan style and is situated on the eastern edge of Dallas. With its liberal expanses of glass, cast stone and masonry detailing, the school played an important role in defining the identity and tradition of the area. 

The project began with retaining and restoring all of the wooden and metal windows to their original condition. Metal lanterns were refurbished or replicated in the same bronze and brass materials in which they were forged originally. The HVAC system was replaced and improved while being sensitive to the spatial quality of educational and circulation spaces. Where classrooms were rehabilitated, the character-defining woodwork was preserved and new acoustical ceilings were installed near the height of the original ceilings, preserving the full height of the original windows. The auditorium was restored and the front hallway was modified to be more nearly like its 1928 appearance. First-floor restrooms were renovated in a way consistent with their historic appearance. 

A major challenge of the project was the location and configuration of the new addition to best address crowding issues. Generally Dallas ISD additions are constructed sympathetically with the existing school, but often are only a single story. 

This addition aligns the height of the historic school and connects each floor level via a transition element that clearly defines and separates the old and new. The new building provides science and performing-arts classrooms while sharing a material and color palette with the historic school. 

BRW Architects (Dallas) completed the project this spring. 

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