2021 Education Facility Design Awards
Recognizing projects that represent state-of-the-art learning environments
As education continues to evolve, we must evaluate and measure our successes, and have an arena in which to test ideas. The Education Facility Design Awards provides an opportunity to engage in critical evaluation and experimentation, not as an end in itself, but in the context of our clients and their needs.
Recognized projects represent state-of-the-art learning environments, including early childhood, K-12, alternative, community and technical colleges, schools of higher education, corporate or other specialized training centers and non-traditional learning environments such as community centers, museums, libraries, nature centers, and interpretive centers.
This awards program is sponsored by the Committee on Architecture for Education, an AIA Knowledge Community.
Belmont Day School Barn
As one of the critical elements of the Belmont Day School’s master plan, the Massachusetts private school’s new barn provides ample space for its evolving STEAM and athletics programs. More than 27,000 square feet of space is divided between two stitched-together buildings: an engineered steel fieldhouse containing two dual-use basketball and volleyball courts and a stick-built steel classroom headhouse.
Bluestone Elementary School
Living up to its "Friendly City" nickname, Harrisonburg, Virginia, is a designated refugee resettlement community currently experiencing significant growth. More than 35% of the students enrolled in the city's schools identify as English-language learners.
Environmental Nature Center Preschool
This addition to the Environmental Nature Center’s Newport Beach, California, campus supports the nonprofit organization’s mission of providing nature-based education for young people. Developed through the vision of educators, the community, and the center’s leadership, the LEED Platinum-certified preschool mirrors the existing facility in its ability to blend indoor and outdoor spaces, instilling an intuitive understanding of the natural world in children ages 2.5 to 5.
Flight 93 Visitor and Learning Center
In western Pennsylvania, Flight 93 National Memorial commemorates the 40 heroes that thwarted the hijackers of United flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The first new U.S. national park constructed in the 21st century, it has transformed the site of a former coal mine into a memorial landscape. This new visitor and learning center in the park enhances the visitor experience, providing educational and interpretive content that tells the story of flight 93 and that fateful day.
Grant High School Modernization
Sharing a 30-acre site with Northeast Portland's Grant Park, Grant High School quickly became a significant part of the community's heart when it was built in the 1920s. The historic classical revival brick and terracotta school building was beloved by former students and the larger neighborhood, immortalized in Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby book series.
Home Building at Thaden School
In Bentonville, Arkansas, the Thaden School has emerged as a new high school that challenges traditional educational paradigms where young people learn by doing. The school’s pedagogy hinges on three central programs focused on narrative and visual communication, physics and mechanics, and the intersection of biology, chemistry, and community pertaining to the growing and preparation of food.
Lafayette College Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center
On its Easton, Pennsylvania, campus, Lafayette College’s new Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center sparks and strengthens interdisciplinary connections, a hallmark of its mission. The new LEED Platinum-certified building addresses the college’s need for new facilities to support growing demand for its science programs and anticipated student growth of nearly 20% in the coming years. It provides new departmental homes for biology and computer science, offering those programs teaching and research labs, support spaces and offices, a rooftop greenhouse, and an animal facility.
Minnehaha Academy Upper School Reconstruction
In 2017, a natural gas explosion destroyed the heart of Minneapolis' Minnehaha Academy, claiming two lives and two of the school's historic structures. This progressive 72,000-square-foot campus addition turned tragedy into triumph and was designed and built in just 18 months.
Pace University Student Landscape
This renovation, repositioning, and reactivation project spans Pace University’s two flagship buildings in Lower Manhattan while emphasizing the school’s identity. The 55,000-square-foot project recognizes Pace University’s evolving cultural and programming needs, responding with a series of interior and exterior interventions that shape new student-centric spaces and enhance the university’s connections to New York at large.
The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact at University of Oregon
This new campus at the University of Oregon shapes a dynamic ecosystem rooted in discovery, innovation, and education by gathering applied sciences, business innovation, and culture under one roof. The light-filled and highly flexible space dismantles boundaries and is ready to adapt to new directions quickly.
Virginia Wesleyan University Greer Environmental Sciences Center
Occupying the last building location on Virginia Wesleyan University’s main quad, the new Greer Environmental Sciences Center represents the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its thriving cross-disciplinary sciences program. The building also serves as a new portal for students as they move across the campus, connecting them to the building’s program and natural content. Since opening, the center has transformed campus life and supported the university’s desire to broaden research opportunities for undergraduates.