Five School Designs Set Trends


Bold uses of color and finishes and an array of sustainable building technologies are featured in the latest round of educational and cultural project designs honored by the American Institute of Architects.

AIA’s Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has selected five educational and cultural facilities for the 2013 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards. 

The AIA says the purpose of the 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.

AIA design descriptions of the awards winners appear below.

CA State University, Northridge Student Recreation Center; Northridge, CA
LPA Inc.

The Student Recreation Center provides a dynamic, energetic approach to recreation. The design concept is clearly executed with a judicious use of colors and finishes.

Strong transparency and interconnections between spaces inside the building are appealing, inviting and conducive to exercising.

Rainwater collection, natural ventilation and day lighting are integrated into the design.

It was evident to the jury that students were involved in the project's conceptualization process and planning, AIA noted.

Sandy High School; Sandy, OR
Dull Olson Weekes—IBI Group Architects

Sandy High School

Josh Partee

Sandy High School sets high standards in terms of materials, finishes and aesthetics.

Sitting lightly on the land, the building allows nature to penetrate the campus. It takes advantage of the hillside and creates panoramic views while nestling comfortably on the contours. Visible green roofs below adjacent classrooms add to hillside views while remaining roof areas are opportunities for power generation.

Transparency between classrooms and common areas is executed boldly, with floor-to-ceiling glass.

The usable space per student and color combinations used are intended to promote student development.

Jobie L. Martin Classroom Building; Jackson, MS
Duvall Decker Architects

Jobie L Martin Classroom Building

Timothy Hursley

This simple and honest building with strong forms and an elegant façade shows that a few simple gestures can render a sense of identity to an otherwise nondescript campus.

The use of materials, straightforward detailing, and clarity of concept elevates the modest design to a new level.

AIA's jury admired the light, airy classrooms that combine translucent, transparent, fixed and operable glazing.

Mesa Community College Health Wellness Building; Mesa, AZ

Mesa Community College

Liam Frederick

The transformation of this post-industrial concrete building into a light-filled, translucent learning environment is exceptional. This project sets a high standard for reuse and repurposing of an existing building and demonstrates how constraints can benefit and strengthen a project.

The conversion of leftover space between buildings creates dynamic and interactive circulation opportunities. The exterior is striking in its bold gestures, especially at night.

Cranbrook Kingswood Girls’ Middle School; Bloomfield Hills, MI
Lake|Flato Architects

Cranbrook Kingswood Girls' Middle School

Frank Ooms

Cranbrook Kingswood Girls' Middle School is beautifully detailed, appropriately contextual in a place where expectations are high—modest in scale, yet intimate.

The variety of common learning spaces connects directly to the exterior while providing opportunities to integrate imaginative ideas into the educational environment. The scale of the interstitial spaces and classrooms gives a secure feeling to the learning environment.

The Jury and Committee

The 2013 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards jury consisted of Steven M. Shiver, AIA, Chair, NAC Architecture; John R. Dale, FAIA, Harley Ellis Devereaux; Linda Nelson Keane, AIA; Victor Sidy, AIA, Taliesin School of Architecture and C. Kenneth Tanner, University of Georgia.

AIA’s Committee on Architecture for Education is a group of architects and allied professionals concerned with the quality and design of educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.

CAE identifies national educational facility issues critical to architects and works to strengthen relationships with allied organizations, client groups, and the public, according to AIA.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architects; Architecture; Awards and honors; Color; Color + Design; Color trends; Design; Education; Schools; Trends

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