12 Projects selected for the 2017 Education Facility Design Awards
Best new learning centers showcase latest design trends in education
For immediate release:
Washington, D.C. – September 14, 2017 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) selected 12 projects for this year’s CAE Education Facility Design Awards. The program honors educational facilities that the jury believes should serve as an example of a superb place in which to learn, furthering the client's mission, goals and educational program while demonstrating excellence in architectural design. Contact
The new Vassar College Bridge for Laboratory Sciences (VBLS) redefines the sciences at Vassar. Spanning over a creek and connecting two sides of campus, the VBLS houses state-of-the-art undergraduate teaching and research laboratories, offices and shared public spaces and physically connects the sciences with the surrounding wetlands. Consolidating the sciences on Vassar’s campus, in addition to the new VBLS, the Integrated Science Commons includes the renovation of three buildings and ten acres of landscape to create a cohesive science precinct on Vassar’s campus.
This project achieves dual objectives by not only being a high-performance LEED-Platinum building, but also serves as a learning tool for students. The Kohler Environmental Center accommodates cohorts of up to 20 students for a total-immersion environmental living/learning experience. Feedback from the building's monitoring systems enables students to teach themselves important lessons about how to live sustainably and responsibly.
The performing arts venues are positioned to welcome and engage the community, while the visual arts spaces allow students to use a preserved northerly grove of trees for artistic inspiration. A single pivot point between artistic disciplines serves as both a gathering space allowing students to continue learning outside the classroom and an area for patrons to gather prior to performances. The design integrates the historic heart of the campus with the existing and future circulation routes while preserving the integrity of the surrounding educational community.
Northwood Elementary is located on Mercer Island, positioned directly between the cities of Seattle and Bellevue, and is the first school that the community had built since the 1950s. The project occupies the corner of a large, multi-use campus, adjacent to one of the last remaining stands of Madrona trees on the island, and nestles into a steeply sloped site at the head of a major geological outlet to Lake Washington. The design is an eco-system of ﬂexible and ﬂuidly connected spaces that promote active learning and support the Next Generation Science Standards.
The Price Science Commons and Research Library creates an inviting identity for the Lokey Science Complex as a glass enclosed pavilion containing a social commons café and event space overlooking and connecting to the subterranean research library and landscaped courtyard. A hub of student activity, it is a technologically robust, dynamic learning environment for learning and discovery that reflects a 21st Century paradigm. The student-centered design promotes experimentation, collaboration, and investigation. Spatial flexibility, with classrooms that reconfigure into study groups and informal learning arrangements, promotes collaboration across diverse user groups. Science-specific study rooms support collaboration, tutoring, and hands-on learning.
The Advanced Technology Center integrates student, faculty, project and instructional areas to provide pedagogical overlap to nurture student growth in STEM and broadcast technologies; attracting a diverse student body and supporting outcomes for a variety of educational capabilities and community benefits. The project inspired an exploration into shared craft and design methodologies that exist between building technologies and information architecture. The campus fosters student success by involving community and industry partners to support the college Foundation, which helps address financial needs of at-risk students. Project-oriented work, educational effectiveness, inquiry and collaboration among faculty and students is heightened through connectivity.
Born out of a need to accommodate a growing enrollment and expanding curriculum, Chengdu International School (CDIS) transformed a newly constructed structure from its original intended use as an elementary school for Chinese students, to an international school, grades pre-k thru 12, providing a western based educational model for foreign nationals living in China. The conversion of the 17,000-square foot, five-story building was extensive and highlighted the spatial, organizational and cultural differences between a Chinese teaching model. Drawing upon the rich use of color and frames in traditional Chinese architecture, a language of wrapping planes enfold non-programmed and shared community space.
Building and site are woven into each other at Cherry Crest Elementary, making students feel not so much “in the building” as “on the site.” This integrated experiential environment stimulates both the curriculum and student engagement by offering a variety of learning spaces which encourage overlap of formal and informal interaction. Educational environment and physical environment intertwine and are inseparable. The building is a gentle part of the site and the whole site is a teaching tool.
Founded on the conviction that design can help address some of society’s most pressing challenges, the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, is devoted to introducing design innovation at the center of engineering education and university life. The project was conceived by the College of Engineering as an interdisciplinary hub for students and teachers from across the university who “love working at the intersection of design and technology”. It is designed as both a team-based, project-centric educational space and a compelling symbol to the region of the University’s commitment to enlightened, sustainable innovation.
Committed to the school motto, “A sound mind in a sound body,” The Winsor School’s new mixed-use facility serves as the home for the performing arts, athletics, and wellness education at the center of the school’s historic campus. The project features a new 515-seat theater, which serves as the school’s main assembly space, as well as major athletic and recreation facilities, including a two-court gymnasium, five squash courts, and physical education spaces. Other program elements include rehearsal and teaching areas for drama, dance, music, and health and wellness.
The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign consistently ranks amongst the top five engineering programs in the country. Known for groundbreaking research and technological innovations, the department needed a new home that reflected the program prestige by becoming the most sustainable laboratory classroom in the world. The 230,000-square foot building was designed with maximum energy efficiency in mind, eventually reaching a Net Zero Energy rating. This is an incredible feat, considering that to date the Department of Energy has classified only 10 U.S. facilities as net-zero energy buildings, each less than 15,000-square foot.
The genesis for the new Neural and Behavioral Sciences (NBS) building is the acknowledgment that the study of complex behaviors will be a fundamental focus of life sciences in the 21st century. The NBS building strongly identifies itself as an iconic gateway into campus and celebrates a new life sciences precinct by defining a new academic quadrangle.
The jury for the 2017 Educational Facility Design Awards includes: Brian G. Minnich, AIA (Chair), GWWO Inc./Architects; Alissa Harrington, John Hopkins University School of Education; Jenine Kotob, Assoc, AIA, Quinn Evans Architects; Philip Poinelli, FAIA, SMMA / Architects; and Brandi Rickels, Lake|Flato Architects.
About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, The American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world.