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St. Coletta Of Greater Washington

Rockville, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia


St. Coletta of Greater Washington


13,500 sf; 20,000 sf




Adaptive Reuse

We took to heart our client's vision: "...for people with intellectual disabilities to be recognized and accepted as valuable contributors to the world around them." St. Coletta is a school that serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities, autism and secondary disabilities. Their educational philosophy is one that G+P also embrace.

“…the real focus of education needs to be on the individual learners and the skills they need to be successful in life. We believe that individuals learn best by doing. To that end, we plan hands-on, theme-based activities that allow for experimentation and trial and error.” The hands-on learning environments are designed to meet the distinctive needs of developmentally challenged clients.

The Color Story

Color played a prominent role in wayfinding and as means of sorting and grouping spaces. Color association is strong and memorable for regular occupants and occasional visitors alike. Students receive verbal instructions that include the color of the space or room as a way for them to identify where they are and where they need to go. For example: lifeskills are learned in the blue room while crafting takes place in the orange room and eating in the purple room.

An industrial space was converted into a bright, open and inspiring hands-on learning environment to empower children and adults with intellectual disabilities to discover their full potential. Students carefully handcraft glass plates, bowls, serving dishes, and jewelry. The space houses environments where students can create fused glass art products.