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2008 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) honored 11 educational and cultural facilities with this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design Awards. Two received Awards of Excellence, four received Awards of Merit, and five received Citations. The purpose of the design awards program is to identify trends and emerging ideas, honor excellence in planning and design, and disseminate knowledge about best practices in educational and community facilities.

Serving as jurors for the 2008 awards were: Chair Jeanne Jackson, AIA, VCBO Architecture; W. Bryan Bowles, PhD, Davis School District Superintendent; Vasso Kampiti, Assoc. AIA, The City University of New York Office of Facilities Planning, Construction, and Management; Gerald I. Reifert Jr., AIA, Mahlum Architects; RK Stewart, FAIA, Hon. FRAIC, Perkins + Will; and Amy M. Yurko, AIA, BrainSpaces.

Awards of Excellence

The Nueva School Hillside Learning Complex, Hillsborough, Calif.
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

This LEED® Gold-certified project uses 65 percent less energy than a typical new school facility in the U.S. Its buildings are woven into the land, respecting the natural beauty of the site. The project employs a 30-kW photovoltaic system, living roofs, natural ventilation and daylighting throughout, and strategies to cut typical water use in half. The new spaces foster creative interaction by providing a wide variety of informal and formal learning environments. Ultimately, the project stitches together an existing campus, creating a stronger “front door” and a more cohesive campus experience.

School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA), University Park, Pa.
Overland Partners Architects, in collaboration with WTW Architects

The building brings together the two previously separate departments in a flexible learning environment that fosters collaboration and shared values through the design of open and interconnected spaces. The SALA building is Penn State’s first LEED®-Gold-certified building, employing natural ventilation, abundant daylighting, automatic systems controls, and recycled natural materials. At least 50 percent of the building’s materials come from within a 500-mile radius of University Park to help stimulate local economies and to reduce the environmental impacts of transporting building materials.

Awards of Merit

Bioscience High School, Phoenix
Orcutt | Winslow

The building, designed as a teaching tool, incorporates solar orientation, exposed systems and fossil castings. The architect used an interdisciplinary design team approach that included teachers and the community for weekly virtual meetings to program the project and gather all of the information in a virtual 3D setting. The new high school responds to Phoenix Union High School District’s unique program, which emphasizes collaboration, team teaching, and independent learning. Student studio areas are adjacent to teacher workrooms to encourage spontaneous collaboration. The site contains an existing historic schoolhouse building that will continue to function as administration space, additional classrooms, a computer lab, and a library.

Hopkins-Nanjing Center Samuel Pollard Building, Nanjing, China
Perkins Eastman

This building employs shared spaces to encourage interaction to help the American and Chinese students break down cultural barriers. The state-of-the-art conference center enables professional high profile meeting settings to discuss international relations issues. The faculty lives in the building, demonstrating their dedication to the program at all times. As residents of the program, like the students in adjacent dorms, they help create a community focused on the goals of the center. Open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the building’s many programmatic aspects work together to create a place that highlights international and bilateral culture.

Santiago Canyon College Library, Orange, Calif.
LPA, Inc.

This design arranges its diverse program to deliver flexible, open-plan, and collaborative spaces through simple building forms, elegant details, and modest materials, all making the most of a limited budget. The library environment is open, illuminating, accessible, and energy efficient. Students, community members, faculty, staff, and administrators combined to provide programmatic needs and design inspiration for the new library. An inclusive design process used by the architects created the opportunity for input. Along with the student services building, the new library creates a front door to the campus, connecting the college with its surrounding residential community.

Averett University Student Center, Danville, Va.
VMDO Architects

As Averett transitioned in 2001 from a regional college to a “campus community,” it needed to become a place that would bolster enrollment and draw students with a welcoming place that would encourage them to stay, gather together, and share experiences. For instance, the dining hall and café can transform into student lounges, a small ballroom, or a campus event space. The activities level is designed with open workstations and shared storage both to provide flexibility and build synergy among student leaders. While using common, cost-effective building systems, the student center employs sturdy and enduring natural materials to minimize maintenance, but also give a sense of permanence.


Rosa Parks School at New Columbia Community Campus, Portland, Ore.
Dull Olson Weekes Architects

This mixed-use educational facility, certified LEED Gold, anchors a large low-income housing revitalization project. The design process engaged the entire community to create a true intergenerational center supporting needs from early childhood to senior programs and services. Technology is infused in all rooms on a variety of levels; spaces employ traditional computers, smart boards, and digital displays on wired and wireless platforms. The building is configured to protect on-site heritage trees and create a small pocket park for community use. Interior colors picked by students represent the ethnic diversity of students.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School/Colin Powell Youth L, Minneapolis
Ryan Companies

The challenge for this project was uniting two very different organizations in the same facility. Built on a former brownfield site, this high school’s innovative education and corporate internships achieve 99 percent graduation rates, where 23 percent is typical. Standard double-loaded corridors are replaced with “Small Learning Communities” and flexible common areas that allow different learning modalities. The tough urban neighborhood demands durable materials, and brick, precast concrete and local limestone fit the bill. Green elements include strategically placed, high-performance UV glass, day lit stairwells, highly reflective roofing, and outdoor classrooms. Radiant heat efficiently warms the large atrium in conjunction with passive solar heating strategies for the floor and wall tiles.

Ferguson Center for Performing Arts, Newport News, Va.
Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company

This project incorporates an obsolete 1950s high school into a complicated program that included 1,700-seat, 440-seat, and black box theaters to serve both university and community needs, plus theater labs, dance studios, practice spaces, classrooms, and offices. A new colonnade hides the old high school while linking the two new public theaters at either end. An amphitheater provides separate entries for studio and 440-seat theaters and outdoor performance space. The transformation of the high school into contemporary academic and support spaces became an exercise in sustainable concepts and adaptive use: the insertion of new functions in an old shell within existing building limits.

Edison Regional Center of Excellence, Piqua, Ohio
The Collaborative Inc.

To create informal learning environments between classrooms, the architects sought to intensify use of the learning center by combining Internet, library, and food services in one space and running a circulation corridor right through it. The center supports the greater community's demand for a space in which they could learn job skills in the allied health fields. In turn, it is supported by the community. Two-thirds of funding came from private donations. Three area hospitals, which combined to give $1 million to the center, will benefit from a pool of local, qualified employees. As a whole, the building also teaches the community the importance of environmental stewardship, first on the grounds with a series of bioswales that capture rainwater and purify it naturally before it is returned to the watershed.

Mat Su Career and Technical High School, Walisa, Alaska
McCool Carlson Green

Dissatisfied with the district’s traditional vocational education, the school’s Career & Technical Education Division wanted a fresh, relevant response to their evolving community-based program. With less than two months to create a concept design, the planning team adopted an integrated approach combining design and visioning in a series of interactive, user-driven workshops. Participants included a broad range of school, student, community, and business partners providing diverse and highly relevant input. Architectural features and advanced engineering systems are on display, intriguing and challenging students to learn more about the world around them.

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