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Madeira School

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1929, Waldron Faulkner; later additions. 8328 Georgetown Pk. (VA 193), McLean

Lucy Madeira (married in 1917 to David L. Wing) founded a private girls' secondary school along progressive lines in Washington, D.C., in 1906. In 1927 she decided to remove the school to a site along the Potomac called Greenway. After initially contacting the Boston firm of Strickland, Blodget and Law, the school commissioned Washington, D.C., architect Waldron Faulkner. Faulkner's wife, Elizabeth Coonley Faulkner, was president of the alumnae association and the daughter of a trustee, Mrs. Avery (Queene Ferry) Coonley, who had commissioned several buildings from Frank Lloyd Wright and was interested in progressive education. The eight interconnected buildings of the initial complex (1929–1931, Faulkner with Alexander Trowbridge, consulting architect) are in the red brick Colonial Revival mode and are carefully arranged around courts similar to those of the nearly contemporary colleges at Yale and Harvard, though more modest in scale. Faulkner graduated the height, mass, and roof shape to indicate the hierarchy of the buildings. Later additions to the campus include the brick Chapel and Auditorium (1969–1970, David N. Yerkes), which displays the angles and planes of minimalist design of the period. The lobby and auditorium take advantage of the site with spectacular views of the Potomac. The Science Building (1974–1975, Arthur Cotton Moore) resembles an overgrown piece of minimalist sculpture. The vast roof originally was a solar panel, but it never worked, and the surface is now a sea of asphalt shingles. Faulkner's original gymnasium has been converted into the Huffington Library (1993, Bowie Gridley), which has a squat postmodernist clock tower; the interior is a tremendous trussed space with balconies. The Hurd Gymnasium (1992, Bowie Gridley), on the entrance road, is in a similar postmodernist mode, a sort of squashed Colonial Revival idiom.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Madeira School", [McLean, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 57-57.

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