12 projects selected for the 2016 Education Facility Design Awards

Best new learning centers showcase latest design trends in education

For immediate release:

Washington, D.C. – September 8, 2016 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has 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.

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Henderson-Hopkins School; Baltimore

Award of Excellence  


Associate Architect: Architects+Urban Designers

A 125,000-square-foot, K-8 partnership school and early childhood center is a progressive learning environment for children and a laboratory for the next generation of educators. The school is a cluster of “containers for learning” inspired by East Baltimore’s row houses, stoops, and social civic spaces. Through its intentionally porous, safe, urban plan, and the craftsmanship of light, materiality and performance, its design respects history and supports the future of education and of its neighborhood.

Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School; Washington, DC

Award of Excellence

Studio Twenty Seven Architecture    

Mundo Verde is a bilingual, sustainability-focused public charter that consists of two buildings: the renewed and refined historic school and a new Pre-K annex.  Within the older building, breakout nooks and cubbies are carved from the generous corridors and abandoned ventilation chases. New windows provide natural light to the building core. As in the Annex, high ceilings and grand window expanses are supported by highly coordinated building system integration.  The Pre-K annex facade is designed to be deferential to the historic school. A third floor learning terrace, large window openings, and building orientation provide for light-filled classrooms which frame the natural landscape of the interior play court.

Regional Plant 2 Teaching Facility, Wake Technical Community College; Raleigh, NC

Award of Excellence

Clark Nexsen  

Located at the entrance of Wake Tech Community College, building creates a gateway to the campus and symbolizes the merging of technology, education and sustainability. While the primary function of the Regional Plant is to house heating and cooling systems, the project was an opportunity to highlight the striking aesthetic of building technology and to create a unique educational experience that reveals technology’s role in preserving the beauty of the natural world. The building serves as an educational facility for teaching students about energy efficient building systems. A simple rectilinear glass and steel box with a perforated metal screen layer houses, screens and displays the technology and creates a unique educational space for the college.

Richard Ivey Building, Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University; London, Ontario, Canada

Award of Excellence

Hariri Pontarini Architects    

Echoing the architecture of Western University’s campus, a full height great hall anchors the main circulation, with the dining hall, library and amphitheatre extending into the surrounding landscape as distinct pavilions. Designing from the inside out, the architects created spaces that support Ivey’s unique case-based and team learning pedagogy. The research-based design process involved numerous workshops and a survey of 60 top business schools. The building’s materials—stone, concrete, glass, copper, steel, walnut, and Douglas fir—were selected for their elemental and timeless qualities. Innovative site strategies and embedded technologies were employed to achieve a sustainable design.  

Seton Hill Arts Center, Seton Hill University; Greensburg, PA        

Award of Excellence  

designLAB architects

Associate Architect: BSHM Architects

Channeling the Pittsburgh area’s industrial heritage, the steel frame and metal clad building was conceived as a “Factory for the Arts.” The project features an outdoor Arts Yard where the making of 3D arts is visible from the commercial Main Street in its host city of Greensburg. The four-level facility features a full complement of studio spaces for traditional disciplines like painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, dance and theater, along with tech-heavy digital and graphic arts. The new building is an economic catalyst for the city’s cultural district, drawing local artists, gallery observers, and performing arts attendees to support and critique student work.

Vol Walker Hall Renovation & The Steven L. Anderson Design Center, University of Arkansas; Fayetteville, AR

Award of Excellence  

Marlon Blackwell Architects

Associate Architect: Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects

The addition provides 37,000 square feet of new studio, faculty office, and seminar space as well as a 200 seat auditorium and an exhibition gallery. This project is a complex but resolute hybrid of a historic restoration and a contemporary insertion and expansion. Post-tensioned concrete and Indiana limestone honor the weight and substance of the historic, while the west-facing fritted glass brise-soleil and steel curtainwall create a contemporary figure. The overall design is a didactic model, establishing a tangible discourse between past and present, while providing state of the art facilities for 21st century architectural and design education.

Dwight-Englewood School Hajjar STEM Center; Englewood, NJ

Award of Merit


This new building at Dwight-Englewood embodies the school’s STEM mission, while still blending into the existing campus. Designers found inspiration in the integrative STEM curriculum to create a facility that fosters a cross-disciplinary community and is adaptable to change. Inside, seven flexible classrooms and eight science labs center around a double height community area that serves as an “Innovation Hub” where students are free to explore. Moveable furniture, audio-visual capabilities and writable surfaces encourage students to “hack” the space and their own learning process. Contrasting with the classrooms’ brick and wood façades, the warm cedar exterior also allows the building’s character to shift with the seasons.

Fayetteville High School Addition and Renovation; Fayetteville, AR

Award of Merit

Hight Jackson Associates

Associate Architect: DLR Group and Marlon Blackwell Architects

To maintain its competitive advantage in academics, Fayetteville Public Schools tasked the design team to strategically re-structure its high school education program into a small learning community (SLC) model. At more than 500,000 square feet, this project is the largest civic project in Fayetteville over the past 50 years. SLCs are designed with core learning studios that feature discovery, project-based learning, digital and applied learning labs to foster collaboration. Distributed administration, resource centers and dining allow students to spend a majority of their day within their SLC. The addition features abundant glass and overlooks a new landscaped street that creates a collegiate campus feel reflective of the school’s ties to the University of Arkansas.

GateWay Community College Integrated Education Building; Phoenix

Award of Merit


As an anchor in the heart of campus, this 122,000-square-foot facility meshes an entire new campus of functions into a single three-story structure. The building integrates mediated classrooms with life and physical science labs, a campus library, learning center, one-stop-shop for student services, and a multi-purpose classroom for performing arts. Outdoor spaces, both at grade and at the upper levels of the building, provide a popular amenity and an enhancement to student community life. Such spaces include an accessible roof deck and other educational areas catering to different college and community functions throughout the year.  The project is targeting LEED Gold Certification.

Harvard Business School, Tata Hall; Boston

Award of Merit

William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

Located on the banks of the Charles River, the arc-shaped building creates a porous edge to the campus and a new sense of openness between the school and the city of Boston. Dedicated to the Executive Education program the building groups students into clusters of eight-person suites, each with a common space for work, collaboration and presentations. The detailing and performance of the exterior facade allows the transparency of the ground floors to expose the public parts of the building.

Indian Springs School; Birmingham, AL

Award of Merit

Lake|Flato Architects

Associate Architect: Architecture Works

The 350-acre boarding and day school campus, originally planned by the Olmstead Brothers, was functional and serviceable but aging facilities were inhibiting the growth of educational programs and opportunities. This first phase of a comprehensive master plan includes new academic and administrative buildings and complementary landscapes that create a memorable, meaningful place. Porch ceilings and overhangs are crafted of wood and are natural frames of the surrounding environment. Roof monitors on the buildings provide daylighting to each classroom, while a storefront system and high-performance glazing afford views along the covered walkways and to the campus beyond. The project is targeting LEED Silver certification.

Kennedy Child Study Center; East Harlem, NY

Award of Merit

Pell Overton Architects

Renovating a 1930’s warehouse building, the design team’s adaptive reuse of the 25,000-square-foot space presented a number of difficult challenges, including an unusually low ceiling and absence of any natural light. In response, one primary design feature took the form of a series of large, colorful lighting bays cut into the otherwise smooth ceiling effectively creating the perception of greater height and illumination from above. To further address the compressed nature of the lower floor, the administrative offices are arranged around two large open work areas, providing direct visual access to new windows and allowing natural daylight to filter deeper into the floor.

The jury for the 2016 Educational Facility Design Awards includes: Karina Ruiz, AIA (Chair), DOWA-IBI Group Architects; Christina Alvarez, Delaware Design Lab HS; Helena L. Jubany, FAIA, NAC/Architecture; Bruce Lindsey, AIA, Washington University in St. Louis; Zachary Neubauer, University of Portland and Steve Ziger, AIA, Ziger/Snead 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, the 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. The 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. Visit www.aia.org.


Matt Tinder
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