Discovery Meadows Child Development Center

Client: Bright Horizons
Location: Gaithersburg, MD
Size: 23,500 SF

Discovery Meadows Child Development Center’s mission is to provide safe, high-quality onsite childcare to the children of employees and local families. Working closely with a client focus group, the team prioritized connecting children to nature and creating a curriculum centered on exploring and understanding the natural world.

The 23,500 SF two-level curved plan frames the private forest area while the building steps down with the existing grades to provide direct access to the playground from each classroom. It features an expansive natural outdoor play and learning area and innovative ground source heating and cooling, including radiant heat and cooling. The program accommodates 180 children ranging from infants through preschoolers and includes an after-school component for 36 kids, ages 5-11. A large multi-purpose space connects to a south-facing roof terrace which leads to a STEM pavilion by way of a covered bridge.

Discovery Meadows was completed in 2017 and achieved LEED Platinum Certification. In 2018, the project earned the K-12 Education Award of Merit from Engineering News Record Mid-Atlantic. In 2020, the project was awarded Innovative Project of the Year – New Construction, Commercial from USGBC National Capital Region.

Photography by Ulf Wallin and studioMLA Architects