After revealing the winners of the year's best new library buildings, the American Institute of Architects today presented its annual list of the best schools and learning centers. The Institute's Committee on Architecture for Education selected eight projects to receive Awards of Excellence and two for its Awards of Merit.
Pennsylvania and Tennessee are the states with the best award turnout this year, and jurors also selected international projects in China and Canada.
Following are the ten award winners.
AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE
Project summary: "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 (VCAM) Building; Haverford, PA
Architect: MSR Design
Project summary: "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."
Project summary: "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.'"
Project summary: "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."
Project summary: "The Harvard Innovation Labs (which include the i-lab, launch lab, and now the life lab) attract students and faculty from across Harvard University wishing to start or expand entrepreneurial ventures in an IP-free zone. Due to a growing demand for life science related ventures, Harvard Innovation Labs needed to expand its growing innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem with a new building solely dedicated to the life-science startups with specialized laboratory facilities."
Project summary: "Situated on the edge of Pittsburgh’s wooded 644-acre Frick Park, the Frick Environmental Center is a living learning center for hands-on experiential environmental education, providing visitors with diverse opportunities to experience a natural ecosystem while learning the technical aspects of a net-zero building. The project embodies the neighborhood-to nature-ideal that served as inspiration for Frick Park’s formation more than 80 years ago."
Project summary: "Tsinghua Ocean Center, a laboratory and office building for the newly established deep ocean research base of Tsinghua University graduate school, is located at the eastern end of the campus in Shenzhen Xili University Town, right next to the main campus entrance. 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, IA
Architect: LMN Architects
Associate Architect: Neumann Monson Architects
Project summary: "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. The six-story, 186,000-square-foot building lies at a key in downtown Iowa city, creating an entirely new relationship between academic and urban experiences. The program comprises a 700-seat concert hall, 200-seat recital hall, organ performance hall, music library, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, classrooms, and faculty studios and offices all linked by a series of vertically connected community spaces."
AWARDS OF MERIT
Project summary: "Like many districts across the country, Tacoma Public Schools has experienced declining graduation rates, hitting a low in 2010 at 55 percent matriculation. In 2011, the state legislature created the Innovation Schools and Zones program to encourage districts to create new, innovative programs. In 2012 Tacoma Public Schools was selected as the first Innovation Zone catalyzing their commitment to educational innovation that empowers student achievement. [...] Arlington is the first ground-up elementary school constructed since this framework was published. It is a case study of what can happen in school design when you explore the spatial possibilities that emerge when a community sets out to totally rethink the basic assumptions behind traditional elementary schools in order to build a culture that wraps around kids. This culture allows them to learn all day, every day, and throughout the year in environments where learners are continuously challenged, relentlessly supported, and engaged in a way that is both safe and healthy. "
Project summary: "A nationally acclaimed professional ballet company dreamed for 15 years of relocating their enterprise to a more prominent location in Memphis, Tennessee. The Company decided on a new site within a centrally located, growing performance arts district. The Company sought to uplift the community beyond dance and exercise with an inspiring community space filled with creativity and vibrancy—for Memphians to find new ways to share in each other’s accomplishments. 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."
Comment as :