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2009 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards

The jury for the 2009 Committee on Architecture for Education Educational Facility Design Awards convened in Seattle in late January to review 119 projects. This distinguished panel included: Daniel Friedman FAIA, Dean, College of the Built Environment, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Patricia Wasley, Dean, College of Education, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; William Leddy FAIA, Partner, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, San Francisco, CA; Margaret Gaston, Executive Director, The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, Santa Cruz, CA; Caroline Lobo AIA, Orcutt Winslow Partnership, Phoenix, AZ; Gerald (Butch) Reifert FAIA, Partner, Mahlum Architects, Seattle, WA (2009 jury chair).

The goal of this annual awards program is to understand emerging ideas, honor excellence in planning and design and to share knowledge.

Thirteen awards were issued in three distinct categories which included Citation, Merit and Excellence. The jury decisions are the culmination of a rich and thoughtful dialogue between architects and educators about exemplary architecture that supports and fosters the learning experience. Common characteristics of the recognized projects included:

  • Demonstrated understanding of context and the impact the solution has on place
  • Demonstrated social or cultural significance
  • Utilized the building as a teaching tool
  • Made learning accessible and visible with building connectivity
  • Demonstrated understanding of the environment along with wise management of resources
  • Represented excellence in architectural design and innovation

Recipient projects and design teams were discussed and honored at the AIA 2009 National Convention in San Francisco on May 2, 2009.


Indian Community School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Antoine Predock Architect, PC

Jury comments:
This project clearly understands the context and the culture of the users. Through organization, volume and material, these spaces creatively support pedagogy while also suggesting deeper connections to local Native American mythology and culture. The abstract forms of the school were carefully woven into, and connected with, its beautiful site. The result is a clear marriage of place, culture and materials connecting building and landscape within shared contours.

Yale University Sculpture Building and Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
Kieran Timberlake

Jury comments:
This artful building meets advanced resource-efficiency goals with a series of practical, flexible spaces cloaked in elegant, high performance skins. Located on a difficult mid-block site, it successfully insinuates itself within the larger and historic campus experience with a network of inviting pedestrian walks. The result is doubly impressive in light of its accelerated schedule.

Environmental Education/Visitor Activity Center, National Park Service, Pennsylvania
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Jury comments:
The jury was charmed by this simple, elegant building that effortlessly integrates program, structure, economy and environmental responsibility. The building excels in its role as teacher; about place and most importantly environmental responsibility


Francis Parker School, San Diego, California
Lake|Flato Architects

Jury comments:
By clearly displaying the elements of construction, and providing varied and adaptable learning spaces, this high-performance project exemplifies the important idea that architecture should actively support education through “buildings that teach”. The architectural response is rigorously true to the immediate environment and goals to minimize resource consumption. The project is also a nice example of activating exterior spaces that are formed by thoughtful placement of individual structures.

ASU Polytechnic Academic Complex, Mesa, Arizona
RSP Architects, Ltd. in association with Lake|Flato Architects

Jury comments:
This project is a dynamic transformation of a desert airbase into a vibrant and inviting pedestrian campus. Using inexpensive yet durable materials to create a series of shaded outdoor gathering spaces and flexible, energy-efficient interiors, the design successfully supports its learning community while celebrating its desert climate.

Camino Nuevo High School, Los Angeles, California
Daly Genik

Jury comments:
This lively building stands as a sophisticated expression of learning, proclaiming an importance of place to an otherwise underserved Los Angeles constituency. An animated street front responds well to the diverse, urban neighborhood and stands as contrast to the protected, quiet inner learning courtyard. It is also powerful evidence that design excellence, low budgets, and sustainable design are not mutually exclusive goals.

Canada’s National Ballet School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects

Jury comments:
The architecture of this urbane building successfully engages the history of its site and the performance culture of ballet. The effort to address issues of body image and eating disorders within ballet by locating the cafe at the public center of the school is a laudable example of design transcending traditional programmatic goals.


Cornell University West Campus Residence Initiative, Ithaca, New York
Kieran Timberlake

Jury comments:
This is a sophisticated and innovative reinterpretation of both the traditional university residence hall program and the neo-Gothic forms and site planning of the existing campus context. The interaction of building mass, outdoor spaces and transparent activity pavilions is particularly successful.

Staples Elementary School, Easton, Connecticut
The S|L|A|M Collaborative

Jury comments:
This project uses approachable, non-threatening, familiar building forms to encourage learning, build community and remind learners of the importance of their agrarian roots, an important component of a sustainable society.

Ralph Ellison Campus, Chicago, Illinois

Jury comments:
In a society that often responds to security and vandal-resistance with angry, fortress-like school buildings, this is a refreshing approach, creating transparent learning environments that become a thriving academic community and source of pride for students and nearby residents. The school is a compelling example of urban rebirth, the adaptive reuse of abandoned structures, and the creative expression of cultural heritage for the benefit of students and the larger community. The graphic treatment of the façade of the new wing, in contrast to the neo-classical façade of the reused elementary school, is particularly successful.

Avon Old Farms Beaston Performing Arts Center, Avon, Connecticut
The S|L|A|M Collaborative

Jury comments:
The architectural expression and materials of this graceful project are a clear response to the original historic campus; overlaid with a successful, contemporary scale and proportion.

Citation (Unbuilt)

Modular Zero Energy Classroom, Hawaii
Anderson Anderson Architecture

Jury comments:
This is a beautiful example of embracing the idea of building as learning tool. This kind of attention to detail is what all learning environments, permanent or modular, deserve to truly serve our learning communities and create a sustainable architecture.

Green Dot Animo Leadership High School, Lennox, California
Pugh + Scarpa Architects, Inc.

Jury comments:
This project aims to be the first school to generate 100% of its own energy. The design intent and expression are exemplary. This is a goal that all new schools should be considering. The jury looks forward to seeing this project when complete.

Return to the CAE Educational Facility Design Awards home page.


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