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East End News

Some love for the round building at Woodville ES

From @preservationarchitect:

A little MCM magic- Woodville Elementary School, in the East End of Richmond.

The school was founded in the basement of a nearby Baptist church, and served the little village of Woodville in several iterations until annexed by Richmond in 1942. The main school was built in 1952, and this space-age addition was added ten years later.

A round school building was thought to minimize costs of operation by centralizing utilities and maximize student engagement by forcing them to walk outside between classes to get air and physical activity. In the modern era, these buildings are, frankly, a bear to maintain because of the inaccessibility of the utilities for repairs and updates, and the vulnerability of the exterior to weather that doesn’t affect the interior. But it’s pretty!

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Eric Huffstutler 02/16/2017 at 4:54 PM

I have always been fond of round buildings like this from the 1960s. Mid Century Space-Age Modernism, when people still had optimistic visions of the future. When I first moved to Richmond, I worked at Lawrence Chrysler-Plymouth at the corner of Broad and Staples Mill.

And of course, the old MLK school buildings. There are so few of these buildings left. Even homes were designed with this round footprint to help centralize access of rooms. Just forget “corner” hutches 🙂


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