The design of educational facilities serves as a major focus for architects and the communities in which they live and work. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that there were 95,726 public schools in the United States in 2005, nearly 10,000 more than in 1995. And even in the current economic downturn, the American Institute of Architects indicates that the design and construction of schools represents the driving force of designs fees for architecture firms in the United States.
While population growth is projected to level off in the next few years, schools will continue to serve as the center for education in the community. School districts in the US will need to start building schools that address the needs of their users, needs that reach far beyond the color of paint in the classroom. And these large buildings will also need to start using technology and building systems to help reduce their economic and environmental impact.
Elementary schools in particular have generally simple programmatic requirements and allow for tremendous creativity within the design solution. The challenge comes in making a building that functions in the simplest way possible for the young minds of children, provides a modern workplace for the teachers and staff and promotes the spirit of its community. Kawneer and AIAS give students a chance to meet these challenges in the 2010 Schools of Tomorrow Design Competition…
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