The American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education has announced the winners of this year’s Education Facility Design Awards. The eight winners and two merit honors were awarded this year’s best educational facilities that not only demonstrate excellence in contemporary architectural design but also further education in innovative ways and serve as an inspirational learning space. This year’s projects are designed for students of all ages, from childhood facilities to higher education buildings.
“Education continues to evolve, and the projects from this year’s Education Facility Design Awards program—presented by the AIA and the Committee on Architecture for Education—represent the state-of-the-art learning environments being developed in today's learning spaces. These projects showcase innovation across the entire learning continuum, displaying how architects are creating cutting-edge spaces that enhance modern pedagogy.”
Read more about the winners below.
Award of Excellence
Chatham University Eden Hall Campus; Richland Township, Pennsylvania / Mithun
Chatham University’s new Eden Hall Campus is designed to prepare students for an uncertain future, where skills related to research and creative problem solving are essential. The campus is designed as a living lab to support research into topics including sustainable food systems, water and air quality, and the social systems they support with a curriculum that encourages hands-on experiential learning so that graduates gain experience tackling real-world problems and creating positive results, as preparation for careers as sustainability professionals.
Haverford College Visual Culture, Arts, and Media Building; Haverford, Pennsylvania / MSR Design
Learning in the 21st century requires active engagement that mirrors an ever-changing creative workforce. Fully developed visual and digital literacy practices enable students to move fluidly between multiple media forms, building upon source materials to create collaborative arts, scholarship, and media productions. Haverford College’s new Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM) Building provides students, faculty, staff, and the wider community with a new, highly flexible, 24/7 learning environment of intersecting spaces designed for interpreting and making visual media.
Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre (KTTC); Peterborough, Ontario, Canada / Perkins+Will Canada Inc.
The 87,000 sf Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre at Fleming College brings together theoretical teaching and applied learning in a dynamic new environment that emphasizes program visibility, technology and collaborative learning. Connected to the existing main social and academic building, the KTTC houses SMART classrooms, faculty offices and administrative spaces, as well as teaching workshops, bulk project storage, and a 27,000-sf flexible multi-disciplinary project space called the “learning factory.”
Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR); Memphis, Tennessee / archimania
Memphis Teacher Residency, a faith-based, non-profit organization, required a new space for recruitment, training, and supporting teachers through an urban teacher residency graduate program. As the context for their new home, the organization decided on a large and recently renovated Sears distribution center that sat empty and decaying for 17 years. MTR was one of eight founding tenants in arts, education, and healthcare involved in realizing the newly transformed, one million square foot “urban village”, Crosstown Concourse. Crosstown Concourse contains all the essentials for a thriving community. MTR became the first tenants to move into the facility—a unique space distinctly suitable to serve its operation and mission.
Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab; Allston, Massachusetts / Shepley Bulfinch
The mission of the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab is to provide students, faculty, post docs, and alumni with a fully-equipped wet-lab environment and resources needed to take their ventures to the next stage of development. The Life Lab's curated community fosters connections among industry, investor, government and academic stakeholders. The life lab was designed and constructed as a modular building, composed of 34 modules that were built off-site concurrent with the foundation construction on-site. The overall construction period was 7 months shorter than with traditional construction, reducing the impact of site activity including noise, dust, deliveries, and on-site waste.
The Frick Environmental Center; Pittsburgh / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Serving as a public gateway to Frick Park, the Frick Environmental Center is designed to both beckon and shelter; gently nudging park visitors from the edge of city neighborhoods towards the heart of the “wild” park beyond. The project’s beauty inspires new visitors while simultaneously asking them to grapple with the impact of our humanity in a dynamic natural ecosystem—one that we are part of, yet inherently distanced from. The Center provides the backdrop for public discourse about this delicate balance. The Frick Environmental Center was recently awarded LEED Platinum certification, and is currently in the performance review period for the Living Building Challenge, widely regarded as the world’s most rigorous and complete building standard.
Tsinghua Ocean Center; Shenzhen, China / Open Architecture
Instant university towns epitomize recent Chinese urbanization: far away from city centers, these isolated urban archipelagos are often over-scaled, with a lack of humanistic concern and its attendant services. The opportunity to design Ocean Center—the last building on this campus—gives us hope that the new building will participate in the life of the campus with a brand-new attitude, presenting possibilities that rarely existed before. This is a building with an open, welcoming atmosphere, with injected public spaces that encourage all the staff and students to participate and socialize. It is a building that facilitates interdisciplinary communication and the encounter of intelligent minds.
University of Iowa Voxman Music Building; Iowa City / LMN Architects
Immersed in the downtown core of Iowa City, the Voxman Music Building embraces a collaborative and exploratory student-driven model of education. The building shares musical discovery with the community through its transparent expression and composition of spaces. Conceptually, the pattern of streets and open spaces in this mixed-use urban district extends directly into the multi-level interior spaces, bringing vertical urban vitality and civic presence to the School of Music.
Awards of Merit
Arlington Elementary School; Tacoma, Washington / Mahlum
To begin, Tacoma Public Schools developed a robust framework of inquiry towards “A New Vision for the Elementary Learning Environment” that asked a series of provocative questions rather than providing concrete solutions. The result is a non-traditional educational specification that allows new interpretations to be created while providing the District with guidelines for building planning and design that stipulates relentless reinterpretation, deep analysis, creative synthesis and meaningful reinvention at every turn.
Ballet Memphis, Memphis / archimania
Ballet Memphis believes their art form is all about soaring—learning to fly and getting up off the ground. Their new, civic-oriented facility extends their mission, physically performing an energetic message about culture and arts from within the heart of Memphis. With large windows and public courtyards, the building contributes symbiotically within the thriving district.