Big Ideas

Big Ideas

Q: What do you see as trends in education design in the next few years?

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to gather a bunch of experts, sit them down, and pick their brains on education facilities topics? Well, we couldn't find a table big enough, so we did the closest thing; we asked architects who participated in this year's Architectural Portfolio five questions. Contributors answered one or more of the questions, and their answers are in the following pages. We hope you'll find their collective expertise and insight useful in your plans to build or renovate your next district or campus facility.

Brian Baer

“Over the next few years, I think we will see more focus on sustainability, not just on ‘green design,’ but also low life-cycle costs. Education design will incorporate more daylighting in classrooms and corridors, greater use of technology in all classrooms, and conditioned air from alternative energy sources.”

John Pears

“The trend I would like to see flourish is that of customization — essentially, not imposing any ‘trend’ or objective strategy at all. Designers and administrators should collaborate with students and faculty to determine what a school's community needs, both tomorrow and 10 years from now. We should consider how major issues like sustainability, security and technology will translate into each unique project and thus tailor the product to suit the institution's identity and objectives. Green design and state-of-the-art facilities and flexible spaces really only have an impact if the facility can serve its constituents and be maintained well into the future. Designing intelligently means designing for that very future.”

Steven Foote

“Trends in design will follow trends in education pedagogy itself, and a catch-all label for that would be ‘interdisciplinarity.’ We no longer design buildings to teach language arts or social sciences; we design flexible learning environments, by which we mean technology-rich spaces, to accommodate learning in a variety of styles. Seminars, lectures, students and faculty working in collaboration, and joint research are some of the uses to which the spaces are put.”

Thomas J. Lindsey

“Well-designed school buildings are playing a valuable role in the learning process. With the increasing awareness of sustainability, green design is becoming a tool for schools to teach children the importance of taking responsibility for improving our environment. Easier-to-use and more interactive technology is another trend becoming integrated in lesson plans.”

Robert Kramer

“Gone are the days of the institutional dorm with its cell-like cubicles, bunk beds, gang toilets and a single pay phone down a long corridor. Students today want a truly residential complement to their classroom life and have made its quality one of the factors in college selection. In its planning of new student residences for other institutions, we have explored a variety of living combinations in suites for two to eight persons, often with kitchenettes and in combination with lounges and common rooms for meetings, group social events and study. Telephone and data outlets, and increasingly wireless connectivity, are standard in each room. No two campuses are alike in their residential needs, and the challenge for each design is to program the new residence hall to the specific personal, social and academic needs of its student body.”

James McDonough

“As echo-boom enrollments decline, school districts will focus their capital on facility maintenance and physical modifications that improve program responsiveness. Classrooms will recapture the natural light taken away in the energy crises of the '70s. Air quantity and quality will continue to increase and improve, creating healthier learning spaces. Acoustical enhancements will bring back some of the daydreamers. These system changes will combine with physical changes in space and furnishings that support simultaneous classroom activities, such as in-class distributed technologies, individual and/or group work furnishings and interactive demonstration or presentation platforms. There will still be classrooms.”

Gary Keep

“Flexibility, shared spaces and technology. Learning environments must be adaptable because education will change drastically in the next five years. Technology will be in the hands of students and will replace conventional computer labs. The classroom will change from a lecture room into a learning studio that includes small-group learning spaces, outdoor learning areas, presentation spaces and project building areas. Educational facilities will be more transparent, encouraging vibrancy, interaction and community involvement. As tax spending is re-examined, community learning centers will arise with the shared use of libraries, community theaters, counseling services, fitness facilities and senior centers. This approach will allow facilities to be multipurpose and bring in public and private partnerships for a better use of community resources.”

Christopher T. Doktor

“The trend in education design in the next few years will focus on increased integration of technology in the physical environment — in the classroom and beyond. As the online world expands to include personal, professional, networking and educational communities, education design must address the integration of the virtual world and the physical world. Virtual classrooms will become more prevalent, allowing a greater diversity of students to participate in the social environment of the physical classroom.”

Dan J. Tabor

“The next few years will bring a greater focus on open and flexible non-traditional classroom settings; use of wireless access for immediate research and study; and electronic teaching and partnering with other corporate and academic institutions for Web casting.”

Jeffrey D. Ziebarth

“Design will anticipate evolving changes in technology, pedagogy, demography and the environment. Learning environments will become modular and transformable as boundaries become permeable and more fluid — between teachers and learners, between departments and disciplines, between online and face-time, between real-life and virtual, among institutions and with corporate/community partners. Facilities will combine program-specific and generic learning environments, and will support multiple venues within a given space and time frame (hour, day, semester). They will be less formal, enable individualized study, and be infused with infrastructure that supports online and real-time interaction. Knowledge transfer will occur in settings that encourage seamless, transparent collaboration and dialogue.”

Catherine Cruickshank

“Flexibility — making accommodations for different learning styles and abilities, especially in elementary and middle school. Small-group instruction to go at the pace of the individual child. Inclusion — having special-needs kids in regular classes. ELL (English Language Learners) and multiculturism. Team-teaching — kids learn the relevance of what they are learning by showing how different subjects relate to each other.”

Robert M. Simons

“We will see more specialized and magnet schools with specific focuses such as science or fine arts; students and parents will have more options. There will be more community and neighborhood schools with lower enrollment per school; this is starting to be a trend in the new housing developments, but it will also affect existing neighborhoods. For many K-12 school districts, there will be more combined grade levels under one roof; this is due to either curriculum reasons or budgetary reasons. A lower student-to-teacher ratio in classrooms is becoming much more favorable as this approach creates a more effective learning environment. Last but not least, there will be much stronger emphasis on sustainable architecture and design, which we are already seeing today.”

Anwar Hossain

“Integration of technology in the K-12 system will become a key element of school building design. There will also be a greater emphasis on high-performance schools utilizing green building ideas. Design professionals will make a concerted effort to locate building system components such as ducts, pipes, meters, pumps, etc., in such a way that the students and staff can get glimpses of these elements during their normal movement through the school, providing an opportunity for learning, satisfying curiosity, and perhaps getting answers to some of those questions they were afraid to ask.”

Gerald S. Hammond

“Healthy environments; flexible spaces; efficiency in the use of resources; more spaces conducive to team and collaboration assignments; and community access and use.”

John Weekes

“The emergence of new models of schools and an increased emphasis on sustainability. The next generation of school design exhibiting real advances will come from charter schools, private schools and selected public school districts whose leaders are not only looking at immediate needs, but also considering future possibilities. The next generation of schools that lean forward will be greener, more agile, student-centered and community-based. While most elementary, middle and high schools will continue to be designed as they have been for the last 80 years, newer models, including schools of focus, schools as centers of neighborhood and community, and schools situated in non-traditional facilities with unique and interesting teaching and learning models in carefully planned places and spaces, will emerge that will gain national attention.”

Carrie L. Matlock

“Flexibility, technology, energy efficiency, security and environmental concerns are, and will continue to be, in the forefront of educational design. As curriculum needs continue to evolve concurrently with technology, flexible spaces for future technological needs will continue to be in demand. New building-material technologies will also impact the future of school facilities, such as the installation of synthetic-turf sports fields and the increased use of recycled building products. Energy-efficient building systems will continue to be a high priority to educational facilities, but they will be in further demand as building codes and users require more energy-efficient designs.”

Christopher F. Brown

“Clearly the ‘greening’ of architecture will play a significant role in education design in the next few years. As designers of green educational facilities, our role is not only that of designer, but that of educator as well. We need to find ways to demonstrate the principles of green that might not be obvious to students. Green roofs, photovoltaic arrays and windmills are very highly visible green components. Equally important, but not as obvious, are the use of recycled materials, water reduction and the limiting of light pollution. These less visible green principles will increasingly share the design spotlight.”

Mark Hutchinson

“In the next few years, the design of educational facilities will continue with trends toward highly flexible environments that accommodate multi-functional activities. Schools will be designed to reinforce collaboration, provide awareness of the world around us, and be excellent examples of environmental stewardship by incorporating sustainable design features and materials. Schools will also be designed to accommodate the rapidly changing technologies being utilized in today's educational process.”

Daniel R. Mader

“One of the strongest trends will be an increased response to the research relating to brain-based learning and the implications that will have on the learning environment. While this concept is nothing new, teachers are increasingly being asked to relate to different learning modalities. Our challenge as architects is to provide an environment that will allow them to do so successfully. Part of this effort will involve ‘breaking down’ the walls of the classroom. In the school of tomorrow, the classroom will no longer be the exclusive domain of education. Learning will take place everywhere: hallways, cafeterias, outdoor play areas — each space will be an integral part of the educational process.”

Rob Johnson

“As information and knowledge continue to be delivered with ever-increasing speed and ever-expanding content, there will be a continuing trend away from traditional lecture instruction to large groups with separate lab support spaces. The precedent is already there, primarily in the sciences, but there will be a continuation toward the combining of traditional lecture and labs and incorporating them together to flexible, multi-age, multi-track settings with an emphasis on individual student instruction.”

Ryan M. Pierce

“We see the trend toward smaller learning communities, and in particular, ninth-grade academies, continuing. In the traditional public-education structure — K to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12 — the sixth-grade and ninth-grade years are periods of tremendous adjustment and transition for students. We're seeing more districts migrate to K to 6, or K to 3 and 4 to 6 models in order to allow those sixth-graders to make the transition later, when they're somewhat more mature. Ninth-graders are much more like eighth-graders than 10th-graders in terms of maturity, so the ninth-grade academy model makes a lot of sense.”

Tom Tingle

“Sustainable design has established a foothold in the education market and will become a standard design component. It soon won't be merely optional, but a requirement — the normal course of business in designing education facilities. From the sports-architecture perspective, colleges and universities will continue the trend to provide facilities for their student-athletes that allow the school to be competitive in recruiting not only blue-chip players, but also top coaching talent. That means the actual venues, such as stadiums and arenas, in addition to training and practice facilities, will need to be competitive with those of other schools. Another key trend is that the evolution of sports medicine and preventive medicine will continue to be a significant factor in sports-training facilities.”

Anthony R. Palazzo

“Technology is a catalyst for teaching, learning and communicating both inside and outside of the classroom. Technology, particularly the Internet, has permeated all aspects of the daily lives of students from teaching methodologies, to homework assignments, to communicating with friends via text and e-mail messages, to compiling research for a term paper, to applying to college and graduate school. Technology and the Internet are driving education. Students who lack these skill sets and do not have access to these tools are at a growing disadvantage. In order for our youth to compete in a global job market, they need to be exposed to advanced technology at an early age.”

Dave Irvin

“Increasingly, educational facilities will merge with other facility types, including mixed uses and expanding stakeholders, allowing increased participation and more innovative funding strategies. Borrowing ideas from new urbanism, retail design and the best of urban and architectural design, educational facilities will morph from being school buildings to becoming town centers that celebrate lifelong learning.”

Ronald E. Murrell Jr.

“The importance of technology in the modern classroom is undeniable. The success of technology in getting students excited about learning makes it one of the best educational tools available to educators of all levels. Educational design must strive to create facilities that make the implementation of new technological tools as effortless as possible. While interactive boards, laptops and wireless Internet are standard features of today's classrooms, who knows what new technological advances may be just around the corner? Over the next few years, as technology changes to accommodate the needs of modern students, education design must evolve to embrace those new trends and advances.”

Craig A. Hamilton

“We are seeing two major areas of change in university facilities. The first are those driven by changes in pedagogy, lifestyle and culture. Collaborative and project-based learning models are creating the demand for different kinds of teaching spaces and the demand for all parts of campus housing, unions, dining, etc., to be able to support groups and individual students in study and collaboration outside of the traditional class setting. Students expect to be able to study and work anywhere, anytime, on campus. The second trend is the push to value in educational facilities. With continuing upward cost pressure and competition for public and private funding, education institutions are exploring alternate delivery, financing and partnership opportunities as ways to get more value out of their capital expenditures.”

Russell A. Davidson

“The central challenge will be how to personalize the educational environment and make meaningful places for vibrant learning communities. This will include current strategies for house-plan schools, as well as additional opportunities to promote interaction between grade levels and disciplines. Multi-tasking is a central skill in today's information age, and school environments need to provide opportunities for students to imaginatively relate what they are learning across all disciplines. This will lead to more loosely structured, multi-use areas, and less assigned and fully scheduled spaces.”

Kevin Scully

“We see interest in creating buildings that encourage development of the whole person and recognition that the classroom is not the only place where students learn. Spaces for mentoring, small-group study and informal instructional space are in demand. Special spaces are needed for gathering and socialization. Well-designed student centers serve this purpose well. Special spaces include dining services, a campus post office, coffee bars, art galleries and specialty retail spaces. We also see a shift in the instructional environment to accommodate group study, smaller class sizes and different styles of teaching.”

Todd Moss

“Security, technology, sensitivity to energy utilization and the environment will continue to be issues gaining in importance.”.

Q: What makes an outstanding school facility?

Tim Baker

“Outstanding school facilities are achieved through designs that create welcoming and ecologically friendly environments. It's important to create an environment that offers high-quality education and is a fitting environment in which to conduct research, while providing services that enhance the culture and economy of the surrounding community. The inclusion of spaces that promote connectivity and community are paramount to exceptional school facility designs.”

Russell A. Davidson

“First and foremost, it should be inviting and inspirational. If students and staff don't look forward to walking in the front door and don't feel inspired when they are there, a significant opportunity is lost. Other critical features include a sensible pattern of movement through and around the spaces. The proper grouping of common areas and classroom areas and the connections between them creates the framework for social interaction that becomes the school community. Equally important is the feeling of a diverse environment so that in the course of a day, there is a range of experiences available.”

Hal Aavang

“Functionality of school design characteristics and patterns affects student learning. Starting at the inside and going to the on-site surroundings, it is important to recognize the element of scale, such as approachable display areas in classrooms, hallways and common areas. It is important that the library/media center be centrally located and accessible physically and visually. And once in, it should be designed to be quiet and non-distracting. Technology must be integrated into the design, and raceways laid out and constructed for future needs. Clearly defined circulation areas with wide spots in the road for circulation rest stops, while maintaining clear sightlines. Windows and light control to bring natural, non-glare light as far into the classrooms as possible and to allow viewing of the natural environment. The landscape design needs to be coordinated with the views to block undesirable elements and accent the outdoor spaces, such as exterior learning areas, pathways and other exterior garden areas.”

Michelle L. Brune

“An outstanding school facility is functional, fun, flexible, bright, engaging, inspiring, inviting, creative, comfortable, technologically advanced, wireless, maintenance-friendly, durable and environmentally responsible.”

Dan J. Tabor

“Outstanding schools are designed to not feel like a school, but more like a learning lounge with a lot of natural light, open spaces, stimulating architecture and colors, comfortable furniture, and cutting-edge technology.”

Alexander “Lex” Long

“Creativity. Fun and play are a large part of our human psyche. Shouldn't school be fun? Architecture can incorporate that into design and make a place fun to be in and around. Let's make buildings and spaces that are more fun and less institutional.”

Craig A. Hamilton

“Outstanding educational facilities do several things well: they enhance the learning experience, they improve the campus environment in which they sit, they are responsible stewards of the environment, they create architectural delight and wonder for the people who use them, and finally, the process of achieving this is responsible to the very practical needs of the program, budget and schedule.”

Christopher F. Brown

“Firmness, commodity and delight: most educational facilities are well-constructed and satisfy the immediate functional needs of their users. A facility that is considered outstanding strikes emotion within those who inhabit it. Great design almost always crafts places, not spaces.”

Peter Gisolfi

“An outstanding school is a place of learning with a pedagogical point of view. School buildings should relate directly to that point of view. It is critical, then, that the school community define clearly its pedagogical goals so that the design of the school can respond to them. For example, a school may have functioning science classrooms, but in an outstanding facility, teachers and students might choose to work together as scientists and share a collaborative spirit that is implied in both the curriculum and the building. An outstanding school is also a place of community — one that promotes interaction among students and between students and their teachers. In an outstanding school facility, education occurs in many places other than in classrooms. It is important that those places be designed with the same care that is given to the design of instructional space.”

Jordan S. Knighton

“An outstanding school facility is one that is secure, sustainable, and offers a multitude of learning environments. Classrooms and supporting facilities should be designed for flexibility in use, as enrollment levels fluctuate on a yearly basis. With recognition that learning does not only occur in the classroom, outdoor areas should be created with a focus on education. Campuses should feature only secure points of entry throughout. Sustainable features should also be incorporated throughout the design of all school facilities. Not only do they help improve the quality of outdoor environments, they can also serve as an additional learning tool for students.”

Dave Irvin

“Outstanding school facilities are not those that are energy-efficient, security conscious, technologically advanced, supremely adaptable or cost-effective. Outstanding school facilities are those that do all of those things seamlessly while embracing and enhancing people. Outstanding facilities are those that celebrate life!”

Steven Foote

“One which exceeds the hopes and expectations of clients, users and donors. If one designs a performing-arts facility in which it is later found that a dance studio is an ideal space in which to teach languages or mathematics, then something extra has been accomplished. Math students might happen upon dancers, or encounter impromptu rehearsals and become interested in a field that is entirely new to them. The educational community is thereby enriched in a way that was never intended, and for which the institution is grateful.”

Britt Embry

“Successful projects don't just happen. The first step to success is a collaborative process with the owner (district administration, faculty, staff and, when appropriate, students) to program the facility and define expectations and performance requirements. The 80/20 theory is usually accurate … 80 percent of the decisions that affect project success will be made in the first 20 percent of the time spent on the project. It is from this platform that issues affecting the teaching and learning environment — functional organization, flexibility, visual character, environmental factors, first-cost vs. long-term cost — will be addressed during design. Success over time is measured by how well the building and the people who own it and occupy it can fulfill the expectations.”

Mark Hutchinson

“An outstanding school is a reflection of the values of the community, administration, parents, faculty and students. It creates an environment that stimulates students to participate and be excited about learning. Outstanding schools are carefully sited and scaled to respect the community and the people who will use them. This is not limited to students and faculty, but will include community groups and adult-education programs. An outstanding school should be part of the learning experience, be flexible, easy to maintain, and provide a backdrop for creativity and curiosity.”

Jeffrey P. Larimer

“Design does not necessarily make for an outstanding school facility, but it is the people that make up the building. From the architects and engineers, building committee members, community members, school administration, faculty and finally to the students, it is the entire team that makes an outstanding school. As an architect, I am the facilitator, the advisor, the guidance counselor who coordinates the design process from the first discussion of goals and ideals through the first day of school. When you see the smiling faces on the students and faculty as they enter a new facility for the first time, you know everyone involved has been successful in creating a new school facility that will be enjoyed for many years.”

Catherine Cruickshank

“Sustainable — to minimize the life-cycle costs; abundant natural light; thermal comfort; a functional space that gives you a sense of community; inspiring; multipurpose flexible spaces; unobtrusive security — easy-to-supervise corridors and safety supervision; and up-to-date technology.”

Alfred Vidaurri Jr.

“Outstanding campuses display strong ‘town-and-gown’ connections, good operations and maintenance programs, and quality in research facilities, housing and student life. With flexible spaces and sustainable design, these facilities accommodate change and technological advances. Outstanding facilities share an interest in integrated planning, setting overarching priorities, and then mapping how these priorities translate to goals and actions for each area.”

Peter Lippman

“I recently returned from a conference in Australia where administrators at the universities were re-examining how they designed their educational facilities. Spaces were planned architecturally to support large-group, small-group and independent learning opportunities. The physical environments were layered with fixed-feature elements, such as recessed ceiling screens, projectors, computers and TV monitors, to name a few, to promote different levels of students' engagement in learning activities. It was refreshing to observe that technology was integrated into the design to support learning rather than being the driving force of the design. Finally, the featured spaces were not viewed as prototypes, but rather as evolutionary. The places were designed to build on knowledge gained from what had been learned from students' and teachers' experiences.”

James Huettl

“The school should invite community involvement. Many of the schools we design are in rural Alaska. These facilities become the focal point and the community center for village activities and events. Native Alaskans have a very high level of respect and admiration for their elders. In our school facilities, we design areas that encourage the elders to visit the school and participate in educating the students in the traditional aspects of their culture. We create a space in which they feel comfortable visiting, whether it's simply for a cup of coffee or to work with the educators and students.”

Brad Paulsen

“I believe outstanding schools provide a direct response to local desires and concerns. One community's perception of outstanding may be different than another community's perception. However, there are several key ingredients of great schools — curriculum fit, flexibility for varied teaching and learning styles, architecture that is welcoming and exciting for students — that are critical. Without those, you really don't have much. I think truly great school facilities exceed the expectations of voters and allow students to excel in their learning experiences.”

Jeffrey D. Ziebarth

“Every project designed for an academic institution should be strategic in nature: it should support the educational mission and institutional goals without becoming too narrowly defined and potentially dated or obsolete. Campus buildings should be timeless in character and honest in expression — designed to fit well within their context. Outstanding school facilities should enable collaboration and interaction among students, faculty, staff and other important community constituencies. The link between communities and public institutions will continue to become intertwined and inform the way buildings are planned, ultimately becoming a physical resource for both. Sustainable principles should guide basic planning and design parameters for campus infrastructure, as well as buildings.”

Mark Simon

“Buildings that are empathetic with their users make great places. They uplift spirits and invite people to stay and work hard. Buildings ‘speak’ whether we like it or not. They can tell us that we are welcome or mistrusted. They can suggest that we communicate with our community, or walk their halls alone. They can imply that they — the buildings — care for us, or that they consider themselves more important than us. Architects should invite users to participate in design and planning to find out what they really need and like, and to find what their building should ‘say.’ Buildings that are loved will last.”

Thomas J. Lindsey

“An outstanding school facility is one that creates an atmosphere designed to give children the best opportunity to learn, concentrate, communicate, interpret, listen, visualize and interact.”

John Weekes

“A more integrated, holistic school design that incorporates the needs of the community and school, and focuses on the whole child. A facility infused with green and sustainable building attributes. A facility that provides places for learning rather than just focusing on spaces for teaching. A facility that is transparent, viewable and engaging. A facility that is agile and nimble. A facility that embraces design excellence.”

Anwar Hossain

“An outstanding school facility goes beyond satisfying the obvious program needs. The design professional through creative thinking can turn the school into a place where students have an opportunity to interact with the building. It is a place where learning takes place not only within the classrooms but throughout the school, in every nook and corner. The daily journey through the various spaces within the school should offer students an opportunity to learn life skills such as wayfinding, color and texture appreciation of their school's interior, awareness of movement of the sun by observing natural lighting and keeping an eye on the weather conditions outside.”

Anthony R. Palazzo

“An outstanding school facility is one that integrates learning into the facility. It needs to be a fun and exciting place that encourages hands-on learning. The spaces should be comfortable, full of fresh air and natural light.”

Carrie L. Matlock

“Aesthetics, functionality, students and staff all play a major role in creating a successful educational facility, but a truly outstanding school is one that engages these components into a dynamic catalyst for learning. This facility should encourage interaction between students, teachers and the community at-large. The learning environment should be stimulating, inviting and recognized as a vital part of the community. The building itself should be durable, within budget requirements and anticipate future changes in the teaching process. Ultimately, an outstanding school facility must encourage people to participate and become interested as the future leaders of our world.”

David Reid

“Social intelligence and aspects of facilities that enhance social learning will hopefully be seeing increased attention in the coming years. The need is desperate! Standards for ethical and moral behavior are continuing to decline in today's youth according to national studies. Yet research efforts are allowing us to better understand how issues such as daylight, exercise, collaborative-based learning and stronger mentoring relationships can all have a positive impact on children's social intelligence and moral values. A few of the conditions that affect social behavior are genetic. But far more than previously believed are influenced by environmental factors. School design needs to pick up on these cues, while school administrators need to support cultural changes in their staff that embrace the necessary changes.”

Ronald L. Essley

“Conformance and harmony with educational philosophy; sound design and functional efficiency; ease and economy of maintenance and operation; delightful, appropriate appearance for students, staff and community.”

Daniel R. Mader

“An outstanding school is one where all students have a chance to learn using their natural strengths. While this focus on accommodating different learning styles often implies the need for more space, I would offer that we can achieve the same results through the creative use of appropriate space and the effective implementation of new technology. Today's successful schools also need a legitimate and real interface with the community. From a political and practical standpoint, the current ‘aging’ of our nation means that schools must find a way to be relevant to all people. That involves more than just opening the gym on weekends. It means providing the space and the programs, such as continuing education, that all citizens will find useful.”

Rob Johnson

“Outstanding school facilities are the result of purposeful planning, design and construction. However, most important is for the process to be grounded in pre-design programming and deeply rooted in the instructional needs and desires. When this occurs, exceptional results are achieved, as the physical facility can be tailored to and dovetailed in with the instruction. Likewise, when educators, administrators, and owners and community members at-large at all levels are engaged in the planning, design and construction process, the occupancy and start-up occur seamlessly, and the facility maintains a supportive and spirited existence.”

Brian Baer

“An outstanding school facility is one that assists the teachers to perform their jobs better, enables the students to learn more easily, and creates a greater sense of community.”

Todd Moss

“One that generates community pride. When children, teachers and parents all see how education is valued as reflected in creative, quality buildings, learning and teaching are enhanced.”

Kevin Scully

“One that inspires thought and creative thinking through the use of space, light and materials. An outstanding school facility encourages social interaction through the thoughtful arrangement of spaces and circulation.”

Q: What is the present and future impact of “green” on school and university buildings?

David R. Snapp

“With schools, and particularly universities, it is expected that they be at the forefront of technologies and trends that prove to significantly impact our society to the good. Green is certainly such a movement. Somewhat overshadowed by the many intricacies that are beginning to define green design is the major positive impact that renovation as a design approach can bring. The simple step of considering renovation as a design alternative to total replacement can reap huge benefits for a green approach to design and construction. Many existing buildings are structurally substantial and can be renovated and reconfigured with a very significant reduction in the resources and energy consumed in the construction (not to mention the demolition) process.”

Mark Simon

“Educational buildings are at the forefront of the green movement. Since educators are teaching the importance of being sustainable and sensitive to the environment, they are often the first to demand that their buildings ‘walk the walk.’ We expect that much experimental work will be done with educational buildings, and that many will be designed to teach about themselves.”

Robert M. Simons

“Present impact is energy and management savings, plus the opportunity to promote environmental education to students and staff through exposure to sustainable ideas. Future impact is the longevity of the facilities and a healthier environment for the community at-large.”

Todd Moss

“Green is increasingly a consideration in all educational projects. Few projects want to spend the dollars on administration to become LEED-certified. Tools and guidelines for creating green buildings should continue to evolve so making green buildings is efficient.”

Dave Battle

“Incorporation of sustainable- design principles in today's buildings will begin to reveal lower life-cycle costs. As green construction continues to become more mainstream, the higher initial costs will diminish for future projects. Biotechnological advancements may create more sustainable building materials, and converging technologies will result in smarter controls and a more efficient physical plant. As a result, school administrators will be able to focus more of their financial resources directly on students' education. The educational environment will continue to improve with healthier indoor air and brighter, naturally lit spaces. Staff and student morale and physical health will benefit. Demonstrating and teaching green in the educational environment will empower students to make this planet a more sustainable place.”

Anthony R. Palazzo

“The green movement currently has a lot of momentum behind it, which is great for educating the general public on sustainable practices. As architects, the distinction of green design is somewhat frustrating because it implies that sustainability is somehow separate from good design. Good design should be inherently green and should not cost more. Good design is not about color or style, but instead creates symbiosis between the experience, the social and academic context, the budget and the impact on the surrounding environment.”

Brian Baer

“In less than five years time, sustainable design will be the standard, and not even come into question of whether or not to do it. More data, such as fewer sick days, are becoming available to the design and construction world as to the end-user benefits of ‘going green.’ The fact is, projects being designed and constructed using sustainable-design guidelines have little impact on the budget vs. traditional construction.”

Peter Lippman

“Although many professionals are being encouraged to incorporate green elements in various ways on numerous projects throughout the country, this is an example of the cart pushing the horse. For the most part, the criteria for a green project are typically based on or derived from LEED principles. Furthermore, buildings are considered green before they are in operation. Without the appropriate research methodologies in place to study the effectiveness of LEED criteria, over the period of use, it is premature to provide a stamp of approval for these structures. The research should study the buildings for each of the first five years and then every five years to understand the life-cycle costs. More important, the research needs to uncover how the designs influence how people use the places they inhabit and interact with the green systems. Without studying these life-cycle costs for the building and the impact of the green design on the user, the future impact of green will be questionable at best.”

Doug Coots

“Green buildings aren't necessarily recognizable as green. Just as buildings have been wasteful and environmentally destructive and gone unnoticed, so too can the features that make a green building ‘green.’ Therefore, it may be important that on a school campus, those buildings that have been created to produce less carbon, provide more usable daylight, reuse grey water, or collect energy from a renewable source must also explain themselves somehow. This can be done didactically by way of interpretive additions to the building, such as plaques or displays, or programmatically by integrating the building into an academic program, such as conducting tours or, especially in the case of a classroom or research building, designing the building so that it can be studied and observed easily.”

Craig A. Hamilton

“We see the impact of green expanding beyond thinking only of buildings to a holistic view that includes the entire educational enterprise: facilities, operations, purchasing and curriculum are all part of creating a sustainable campus community. Evidence of this increased awareness is demonstrated by the rapid adoption by many campuses of the University Presidents Climate Commitment, which has a goal of driving environmental change through research, education and reduced emissions. Universities are in a unique position in our society as valued places of learning and research to be great incubators and adopters of sustainable ideas and practices.”

Rob Johnson

“Smart, discerning owners, both K-12 and higher education, are becoming more enlightened with what responsible planning, design and construction can deliver, in many cases at no additional cost or minimum cost. Payback periods over the last several years have been reduced substantially from decades to only a few years. Much of this can be attributed to market-driven economic forces. Owners of the future will expect and demand more and more of the design to deliver known, proven results throughout the life of the facility.”

Alexander “Lex” Long

“Apparent higher first-costs, but greater payback. The green movement has actually stalled the ‘lowest first-cost’ movement of cheap and thoughtless design and begun a movement to consider buildings as long-term investments. When added to the lesser impact on our environment, it's a win-win solution.”

Gerald S. Hammond

“At present, there is a growing awareness of the benefits of green design that is beginning to play out in schools and universities across the country. In five years or so, sustainable design will be a given in good school design — perhaps before that in universities. The primary impact is in the programming of the design to reflect a philosophy of taking advantage of natural forces and design elements that minimize the negative impact upon our world, and at the same time, provide lower demand upon energy resources. It is mostly about a common-sense approach to how we want to utilize our resources for the greater good.”

Lisa W. Lamkin

“Green in the short term raises many questions — not all have ready answers. Betting on leading-edge technologies and approaches with precious bond dollars can put the support of the community for investment in facilities at risk. There are ‘low-hanging fruit’ that can be implemented now with little to no risk, such as reducing VOCs in building materials, considering geothermal heat pumps, and considering high-albedo roofing. Other strategies less consistently implemented are proven performers that provide cost savings long-term, but add to the initial cost of the facility, such as higher-performance lighting fixtures. As the public awareness of energy cost and its impact grows, we will see support for a higher level of funding targeted specifically for strategies that will save dollars long-term.”

Hal Aavang

“New schools will be much more energy-efficient. They will use products that are more durable and that reduce or eliminate harmful off-gassing. There will be a greater emphasis on natural, full-spectrum light, and when artificial light is required, it will be from lower power-usage lighting that will have motion sensors and dimming controls. Greater insulation and infiltration control will minimize heating/cooling losses and increase comfort. Fresh air will be introduced through more efficient energy-exchange units. There will be greater use of photovoltaic arrays and high-efficiency, in-floor heating.”

Gary Keep

“Present impacts include local building materials that contribute to the local economy and reduce pollution associated with importing materials from long distances. In the first year of operation, education leaders are seeing the benefits through higher test scores, better attendance, improved graduation rates and an enhanced learning experience. With natural daylight and improved indoor air quality, students are responding to surroundings that are more conducive to learning. Future impacts include long-term operations and maintenance costs that are reduced because green buildings are far more energy-efficient and are constructed of materials that require less upkeep. Taxpayers see a return on their investment while they continue to save dollars throughout the life of the building. Students gain an understanding of sustainability and environmental stewardship, which will impact their choices in the future. Green buildings ultimately make administrators more accountable to taxpayers and legislators, and students thrive in them.”

Thomas J. Lindsey

“Presently, the impact of green on schools is the probability of higher construction costs. How much more is really dependent on the level of green features incorporated into the design. The benefits in the long term, which include savings in operating costs, better health of students and teachers (leading to better attendance and increased academic success), better working conditions and increased staff retention rate — could outweigh these initial costs.”

Anwar Hossain

“Connecticut is one of the many states that is now making it mandatory for school buildings to be designed to the standards that are consistent with or exceed the silver building rating of LEED. If this is the present, the future will clearly require more green schools and universities throughout the nation. However, to make green more universal, the cost of green technology will have to come down and, at the same time, an increase in funding will be required. The construction industry needs to work in partnership with the owners and the architects to usher the green revolution to every educational building.”

Michael Paplow

“I believe we must use more efficient systems and components, such as geothermal heating and cooling, alternative energy sources, energy-efficient lighting-control systems and soy-based spray foam insulation. These are all ways to help schools and universities control rising costs, potentially lessening the frequency of levies and tuition increases. The cost vs. benefit of LEED certification must be critically examined.”

Daniel R. Mader

“In coming years, the green design of schools will shift from being an option to being an expectation. While many of our clients are looking to green design as a way to reduce operational costs, the more powerful and lasting impact involves the health of the students and teachers. Green design will lead to fewer asthma-related absences and fewer teacher absences. There is also research that points to higher levels of student and teacher performance when issues such as indoor air quality, daylighting and acoustics are addressed properly. Everyone just feels better in a green building.”

Russell A. Davidson

“There is perhaps no building type that can have more impact on the future of architecture than schools. Future generations will learn from the green school buildings that are being built today and look to further this experience throughout their lives as they build, purchase and lease space in which to live and work. The threat to the future of green is the inevitable failure or eclipsing of some of the technologies now being used in green buildings. We must sustain the green building movement and not let small setbacks on individual elements or systems derail the current trend. Sustainable buildings of all types are critical to the success of future generations.”

Alan F. Hohlfelder

“College and university campuses represent an ideal setting for the potential of sustainable design, and forward-thinking institutions will lead the way not only with individual buildings, but also with facilities that serve as a model for sustainable communities. As places to live, work and recreate, campuses are poised to reap the full benefits of green design. As an institution, reducing costs for energy consumption and reducing healthcare costs for faculty and staff are tremendous economic benefits that will drive sustainability to new levels. Educational settings also serve as a laboratory for experimenting and testing new ideas, and advancing the technologies that will continue to push the envelope of green practices.”

Mark Hutchinson

“In recent years, green has made an enormous impact on the building industry and is now impacting schools at an increasing rate and scale. In order to achieve a high-performance or LEED-certified facility, a more collaborative design and construction approach is required. Many sustainable-design practices are quickly becoming universal standards. For example, to take advantage of natural light and ventilation, the siting and orientation of the buildings are a major design consideration. Energy conservation is also a major focus that addresses the use of highly efficient building envelopes, HVAC systems and photovoltaic systems for the generation of electric power. The selection of sustainable materials for all components of the site and buildings are significant in creating a green facility. The future impact of green on school and university buildings will be to conceptualize and budget with more emphasis on life-cycle costs vs. initial capital costs. Advances in green technologies and the number of green products available will continue to grow as manufacturers realize that green products will be the choice for the next generation of school and university buildings. Emphasis on the environment and building green will also become part of the curriculum at many schools.”

Mark Saccoccio

“Green schools are showing increased student performance, awareness and teacher satisfaction while reducing operating and maintenance costs. Schools in the future will benefit from the latest technological advances of products as companies have embraced this movement and continue to improve. Natural resources such as solar and wind-generated power should become more prevalent. Campus environments can take advantage of buying power, shared resources and efficiencies. Recycling programs and composting can be more effective by enforcing and streamlining the process. Universities can add to their curriculum classes that encourage students to design more innovative ways to support the green effort.”

James McDonough

“A new look and feel is emerging inside and outside the classroom. As an emphasis on saving resources permeates all decisionmaking, school buildings will begin to reflect regional sustainable and renewable materials. Daylight, solar, wind and geothermal energy harvesting will be integrated into our buildings and lives.”

Kim Dale Hassell

“There are a lot of statistics out today courtesy of the U.S. Green Building Council that strongly indicate that the greening of America's schools costs less then $3 per square foot more in building new facilities, with a return on investment in less than four years. Everyone knows the benefits: better lighting, temperature control, ventilation, indoor air quality, reduced absenteeism, increased student academics, less dependence on environmental resources and much, much more. Greening up your school includes items such as planning your site, stormwater management, facility envelope design, daylighting, classroom acoustics, mechanical systems, mold prevention and materials selection. The greening of your schools doesn't just make sense on paper through life-cycle costs; it is your corporate responsibility to sustain a better environment for future generations.”

Brad Paulsen

“The biggest challenge facing owners will be balancing interests in environmental stewardship with fiscal responsibility to taxpayers. Everyone wants to do the right thing for the environment, but when taxes come into play, it's natural to back off a little. Many owners still get nervous when architects bring LEED certification to the table. It's not a valued brand yet. I think in the future we will see even more emphasis on the benefits to students and teachers. In addition, I believe we're going to see more curriculum content and project-based learning take advantage of the opportunities in buildings designed with sustainable principles.”

Jeffrey P. Ludwig (and Rebecca Silva, Intern Architect)

“Green buildings provide a healthier and superior learning environment for students, with financial, ecological and educational benefits. Studies show lower rates of student illnesses and absenteeism, increased concentration, higher test scores and greater teacher retention. Designed to be sustainable, green buildings last longer than traditional buildings while having significantly lower operating costs. The financial savings can be used to provide children a better education. The unique advantage of green design is the potential to use architecture as pedagogy. Serving as an interactive teaching tool, the ecology of school buildings becomes an integral part of students' education. All these benefits are attainable today. In the future they will only grow in acceptance and efficiency.”.

Q: What things should administrators consider as they plan the next generation of schools?

Jim French

“Administrators are challenged with preparing students for our ever-changing global economy. As administrators and designers plan the next generation of schools, we need to bring real-world, hands-on experiences into the classroom as much as possible. This can be achieved through technology that enables distance learning and virtual laboratory environments, partnerships with businesses and the community, and creating spaces that allow for a variety of individual and group activities to occur throughout the day. Planning for the next generation of schools should involve discussions on how we can improve the educational environment to engage all students and provide opportunities for personalized learning.”

Ronald L. Essley

“Smaller student bodies foster more personalized student experience with peers, and teaching and administrative staff. Community use of common facilities like library, gym, athletic facilities, play fields and classrooms builds community pride and participation through better use of facility resources. Energy-efficient and life-cycle-conscious design improves sustainability and decreases environmental impacts. Combined elementary, middle and high school grades into a single K-12 environment provides greater economy and less redundancy of areas like administration, gym, library, playfields and parking.”

Carrie L. Matlock

“Architecture is the physical embodiment of an educational philosophy. To that end, it is crucial that administrators consider how current teaching delivery methods, curriculum and society will be impacted by future technology, demographics and the existence of our natural resources. As the population increases and technology evolves, teachers and administrators must look to create educational facilities that meet not only the current capacity and curriculum needs, but the forecasted needs as well. Facilities should be designed for flexibility and expansion as educational delivery methods change and school population increases. Physical long-range plans for building improvements should be modeled after the school's approach to teaching and comprehensive learning. Administrators should also consider the long-term cost of a building and make educated decisions about building components and systems with maintenance, energy conservation and longevity in mind.”

Bret Kronlein

“Administrators must consider that schools need to support an increasing variety of teaching and learning methods for students. A double-loaded corridor with general-education lecture rooms on either side will fall far short of students' needs in the coming generations. Providing educational spaces that integrate educational technology and are designed with flexibility to accommodate different learning styles requires a clear academic vision. Careful consideration should be dedicated to assessing current learning and teaching strategies and to determining future delivery methods. This is a useful foundation for a teaching vision that will make it much easier for a building team to respond with a successful plan.”

Mark Saccoccio

“The two most important aspects of what we like to call ‘building smart’ are long-term financial savings and maximizing a building's potential. Using the latest technologies for energy efficiency benefits the environment and can provide financial payback within a few years. Regardless of your position on global warming, building with less waste, using less energy and less demand on a fuel source benefits everyone involved. Many buildings today are underutilized. Planning for full or multiple usage during the design phase can maximize a building's potential while providing added revenue and enhancing community programs.”

Mark Hutchinson

“The next generation of schools must be designed to accommodate a more rapidly changing educational environment than any time in history. The rate of change in new, collaborative technologies, available information and student diversity will present a significant challenge to school administrators as they plan for the next generation of schools. Major considerations include providing a welcoming, safe environment that encourages creativity and exploration; reinforcing a sense of school community and participation; incorporating the flexibility to accommodate changing space and technology requirements for educational and community activities; designing for significant collaboration and project-based learning; incorporating sustainable concepts, systems and materials into all projects; and focusing on life-cycle costs vs. initial capital investment.”

Craig A. Hamilton

“If there is a clear lesson from the past, it is that change is a constant. Administrators should think and plan for flexibility in the broadest sense: for example, well-constructed buildings with a ‘loose fit’ for today's program needs may be the most flexible and sustainable in the long term. While there is increased focus on rising capital costs, we only have to look at the limitations and challenges of adapting buildings of the '50s, '60s and '70s to today's needs to realize we should plan and build for the long term.”

Russell A. Davidson

“Imagine a school that will be necessary to make individuals competitive in 20 years. Too often we see senior teachers assigned to planning committees that are still trying to perfect the school design they thought was ideal when they started teaching. Tendencies to create departments by discipline, personalize spaces for specific instructors, separate student and faculty areas, and isolate technology and art programs should be resisted. Think of your school as the best little neighborhood or village you have ever visited, and strive for that sort of interaction and diversity.”

Rob Johnson

“Unlike big-box retail, which builds relatively inexpensive ‘shells’ that will be upfitted several times and then disposed of like tissue paper, the next generation of schools should be responsibly designed and built to last so that the shells or enclosures can adequately support several flexible alterations over the life of the school. Traditional agrarian or farm-based K-12 calendars will evolve to year-round for increased efficiency in number of seats per square foot per year. Rooms and spaces will need to be provided in a variety of types and sizes; more instructional spaces will be a combination of flexible support labs and less traditional lecture settings; more home and charter schools will be networked into the local school systems; and emphasis should shift toward quality as opposed to quantity, both in terms of building size and individualized instruction.”

Anwar Hossain

“The genesis of K-12 design in most communities starts with the writing of the educational specifications by the staff and administration. Considerable thought should be given to making this document cutting-edge, futuristic and demanding of a unique learning environment that is environmentally friendly and carbon neutral, if possible. Establishing a realistic construction budget and a qualifications-based selection of design professionals are essential ingredients to the school construction serving the next generation of students.”

Lisa W. Lamkin

“The future hasn't been invented yet! Flexibility to adapt to future challenges and opportunities is key. Investment in design of energy-conserving elements today will reap rewards in the future as energy becomes increasingly expensive. Our use of technology will continue to evolve, providing new opportunities for enhancing the learning experience and additional challenges to the structure of the traditional school day. Multi-use and flexible-use facilities that can respond to changing demands should be investigated. Partnerships with school districts and municipalities can provide opportunities for community facilities such as libraries to more directly serve the school population and reduce duplicate infrastructure.”

Ronald E. Murrell Jr.

“In a word — adaptability. Educational buildings at all levels must be flexible enough to grow and change with the educational landscape. The incorporation of multifunctional spaces that can easily transform to accommodate a variety of different programs ensures that facilities are not only as useful as possible today, but also will adapt well to future growth and change. The selection of long-lasting materials is also important. Administrators need to move away from thinking of their buildings as having a 50-year shelf life. By creating durable, adaptable facilities, we can create educational environments that can meet users' needs now and well into the future.”

James McDonough

“The growing number of individual educational plans creates the need for greater flexibility in the grouping of students. Schools need various size spaces and appropriate furnishings to flex into this growing change. Plan for future distributed scalable technology throughout the school. We may not all be carrying our whole life on our computing device of choice right now, but we will. High school is getting closer to college. More students are college-bound, and more students choose to stay and finish. The commons, student-service centers, eating venues, resource labs and libraries are all areas where we see high schools successfully offering students a little more respect in layout, furnishings and choice. And when you give respect, you get respect.”

Robert M. Simons

“For the next generation of schools, administrators should consider different planning strategies for the fluctuation in growth; school and campus design should provide flexibility to accommodate changes in educational programs, should it be delivery methods or the curriculum themselves; administrators also have to be conscious of the economical development of facilities with the ultimate goal to provide state-of-the-art facilities, at the same time staying within a realistic and an economical budget. And again, sustainable design will be another strong driving factor.”

Tom Tingle

“For collegiate sports facilities and other structures, the escalating cost of construction materials is a major consideration. This is a difficult issue for administrators to deal with as they budget for future construction projects. They will have to wrestle with trying to determine how much contingency for inflation to allow before the project becomes cost-prohibitive. It's difficult for us to control the various construction markets, not only nationally but globally. It's also important to provide as much flexibility in building designs as possible, so that as trends and the needs of the university change, they can be accommodated within the framework of the existing buildings without major modifications or renovations. That flexibility will also be critical to allow buildings to incorporate rapidly changing and evolving technologies.”

Tim Baker

“School administrators should remember that the next generation of schools must be designed for education and learning within an entirely different world than existed only a few years ago. Changing media and technology requires extraordinary attention to detail and consideration for future expansion possibilities. School administrators must keep in mind that learning styles are rapidly altering the ways in which media and technology are used in the learning environment. Schools must incorporate forward-thinking designs consisting of collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning environments.”

Michelle L. Brune

“Administrators need to study and understand the needs of this generation of learners. Today's students, sometimes called 21st-century learners, have different needs and expectations than past generations. Technology and instant access are part of their every day lives. Educational facilities should provide the latest in technology for both instructor and student use.”

David Reid

“Net-generation students are driving a whole new wave of influences on learning environments — mostly it's about portability of where they learn, the mixture of media they use as their tools, the collaborative environment in which they prefer to learn, and their demand for strong mentoring. All of this challenges not only the traditionally organized classroom, but also the classroom as the primary learning environment — period. While our practice still focuses on fine-tuning the next-generation classroom, we're spending even more time understanding how to better accommodate learning outside the classroom in a variety of collaborative, multimedia-supported configurations.”

Ryan M. Pierce

“The way we use school buildings will change dramatically in the next 20 to 40 years. Virtual learning will become an accepted part of public education. There will be more cooperative education between the private sector and schools, and educators will find new and better ways to reach students through technology. This will result in students spending less time tied to a desk in a classroom in a traditional lecture setting. It is possible that the next two generations will completely redefine the concept of school. Administrators with vision will need to redefine what they teach, how they teach it, and what types of spaces they will be teaching in (or from) in the coming technology/communication age.”

Daniel R. Mader

“Collaborate in planning and plan to collaborate. The key to any successful planning process is to make it community-based and highly inclusive. Great buildings are a reflection of a community's values. But administrators shouldn't stop there; collaboration can also have positive effects long after the school has been completed. By working hand-in-hand with universities, businesses, seniors and other groups, we can make education more comprehensive and a reflection of the entire community. Buildings must be able to accommodate this collaborative learning process.”

Gerald S. Hammond

“Find out what the supporting community values in education and in their facilities, and translate these values into the design of the projects. Provide feedback to the community as to how their values have been incorporated in the design. Lead the way in the discussion of the many benefits of sustainable design of their facilities — in healthy environments conducive to learning and in minimizing the use of energy and associated costs of operation.”

Brian Baer

“Administrators should consider the process of planning the next generation of schools as a ‘teaming’ environment. It is so important to work with design and construction professionals that share a similar philosophy and value as they do, as the client. It is also crucial to state the school's goals clearly and concisely.”

Dave Irvin

“When designing educational facilities, we must never forget that while meeting technical and financial requirements are paramount in order to have a successful project, meeting human needs must be paramount or we will not have a successful country.”

Todd Moss

“The life cycle of the building. Budgets often make first-cost critical. Sometimes this is at the detriment of life-cycle costs. Quality designed and constructed facilities ultimately have less energy costs, less maintenance expense, better staffing efficiency, etc.”

Peter Lippman

Schools where the physical environment is designed to support the different needs of the teaching/learning process. Schools that embrace sustainable characteristics by embracing a more holistic approach that emphasizes the integration of social development as part of the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Conduct post-occupancy evaluations of the spaces to understand what aspects of the designs work and what does not work so that future generations may build on this knowledge.”

Hal Aavang

“Think of the facility in its totality. Every decision made affects the outcome. Budget, site selection, overall district or campus plan, programming, context, climate factors, emergency response capabilities, technology level to be integrated, public images, vertical/horizontal possibilities, and life-cycle cost are a short list of items to consider.“

Mark Simon

“New buildings must be flexible — the recent past has shown that pedagogy and technology are constantly changing, and that will continue. Both will affect the needs of buildings, and if buildings are to last, they will need to change with the times.”

Jeffrey D. Ziebarth

“As our students become more sophisticated and advanced in their use of technology and expectations of their social and educational settings, the next generation of facilities need to embrace these ever-moving parameters. Traditional students will evolve into life-long learners that continue to look to their institutions of higher learning for services supporting their everyday life including re-education, social and cultural connections, housing and educational resources. With the pressure for universities to be all things to all people, administrators should look to other avenues and partnerships to finance, construct and manage their physical capital in support of their students and alumni.”

John Weekes

“Administrators and planners should reconsider the traditional process of designing schools, which has become institutionalized, rigid, and increasingly regulated resulting in old and antiquated models of schoolhouse design. They should consider what is really needed for the 21st-century learner, what is the role of the school in the community and the community in the school, and then organize the process of design towards those goals.”

Alexander “Lex” Long

“School administrators of the current and next generation have a tough job. They must consider future societal changes and how to manage technology, sustainability, education, security and so many other elements. Technology is changing so quickly. The best approach may be flexibility and how to design with change in mind.”

Alfred Vidaurri Jr.

“One big factor is integrated planning. Campus master planning means making space adaptable to unknowable future needs. Administrators need to keep in mind that good planning requires gathering data from a wide array of sources, incorporating existing plans and reports, and conducting the inventories, interviews, surveys, workshops and public meetings that reveal directions for effective campus design.”

Q: In light of recent tragic events at schools and campuses around the country, how are you designing differently to keep security at the forefront?

Carrie L. Matlock

“Providing a safe learning environment is paramount in the design of educational facilities, and it is a multi-layered approach. Design of defensible spaces including visual control of building entries, corridors and exterior spaces is essential. Monitoring systems are incorporated into the building's infrastructure including surveillance cameras, card access, buzzer systems at entries and telephone/intercom systems in classrooms. Main entry vestibules are designed where access into the vestibule is controlled by the main office. Classroom door hardware is designed to prevent unauthorized access to student spaces in the event of a breach of security. The design of parking lots, access drives, bus dropoff and service separates vehicular traffic from pedestrian traffic.”

Alfred Vidaurri Jr.

“Security considerations are raised by almost every constituent group we work with in planning development. We've seen more interest in design of entry and perimeter areas, visual control of spaces, more extensive communications systems. We've also seen more security professionals involved in the early stages of planning, enabling them to have input into design rather than leaving them to design security systems around established designs. There is also more attention to where we locate parking, loading docks and other areas of vulnerability or unauthorized entry.”

James McDonough

“A secure entry vestibule sequence that forces visitors into an occupied office prior to entry into the school keeps security right up front. Where possible, the entire pupil personnel service offices are located at the front of the school. In this setting, most daytime visitors can accomplish all they need — visits with the principal, school nurse, deans, counselors and special-education faculty — without ever leaving the school office. Even teachers can meet with parents or vendors in the front office when necessary. This significantly reduces visitors wandering around the school.”

David Reid

“As much as the solutions we're offering, we're helping school administrators understand that students and teachers are the first line of defense. They're the ones with a pulse on what's about to go down or a student in trouble. If they don't feel a sense of confidentiality when they visit the SRO, they won't make that visit. And that could be tragic. Our facility-based solutions are driven by district culture — if it's a known high-risk neighborhood, they usually want metal detectors out in the open — a forceful message against tolerance for crime. However, most districts are looking for invisible solutions that don't distract students from their studies due to being preoccupied about risks in the school. This translates to lots of transparency, clear view lines through public spaces, controlled access, separation of grade levels at the middle school level, and lots of adult presence via how we locate staff spaces and windows.”

Thomas J. Lindsey

“School designs have become more secure in light of recent events on school campuses. Developing a design with a single point of public entry funnels all visitors from the front doors directly into the administrative office to avoid visitors entering without proper authorization. The doors leading into the remainder of the school remain locked unless buzzed open by administrative staff. Use of exterior site lighting, security cameras in areas not easily supervised and maximizing views through public areas also help create a more secure environment.”

Kevin Scully

“We believe that efficient use and arrangement of public and circulation space is critical to security. Appropriate use of public/circulation space should allow visual connectedness to all prime spaces. Sometimes this is done in a way that is not distracting to the activities occurring in the space; however, the connection should exist in order to encourage social interaction and create a sense of security.”

Dennis J. Bekken

“Security assessment should be an integral part of the design process for all projects. Our firm keeps security at the forefront during the design process by using structural elements to increase the situational awareness of staff. This includes creating a prominent front door to the structure, situating administrative offices near that front door, and providing visual access to the space through the use of internal and external windows. A successful design considers security and the local threat environment in relationship to all the other factors that enter into creating the right building for the project at hand.”

Russell A. Davidson

“Good security is not created by cameras, single points of entrance, controlled access hardware, metal detectors and enforcement officers, although some of those things may be necessary. Good security is created when students and staff all know each other, know where they belong, and hence who doesn't, and feel comfortable in their surroundings. Good visibility, sensible circulation patterns and breaking down larger populations into smaller learning communities promotes the type of interaction that is inherently secure. The largest threat to schools from this renewed focus on security is that they will become akin to prisons and so impersonal that they will nurture just the type of behaviors that they are trying to prevent.”

Ryan M. Pierce

“We've gotten pretty good at designing safe, contained buildings for educational delivery; 21st-century technology has helped a lot in this area. The challenge moving forward is to create safe learning communities on college campuses and K-12 sites. Passive security design is a much larger part of site development and planning than it used to be. It is designing environments that make the people who are supposed to be there feel comfortable, and make those who are not supposed to be there feel exposed and uncomfortable. You can never be 100 percent sure that a determined perpetrator won't gain access to a campus or school, but those are rare and thankfully isolated events. What you can do is develop the site and building plan in a way that eliminates the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ scenario — the chance events that with a little forethought can be avoided.”

Anthony R. Palazzo

“We are taking every precaution to prevent crime through design and building placement while still meeting the challenge of creating a stimulating learning environment. We look at issues such as limiting the number of buildings and points of entry, clearing corridors of obstructions and hidden alcoves, or locating the office at the front of the school, where staff will have a clear view of the entrance. We get into details like installing classroom door locks that teachers can lock from the inside, utilizing clerestory windows and skylights that can't easily be reached, or installing student lockers in classrooms instead of hallways.”

Mark Hutchinson

“The recent tragic events on schools and campuses around the country impose a clear and immediate precedence that security in school design is a priority. The security and safety of students and faculty are being addressed by careful consideration of the building and campus layout, limiting points of entry, providing defensible spaces, and providing clear wayfinding signage. Emergency communication and electronic access systems are also being incorporated into the building design.”

Steven Foote

“I do not think that architecture alone can protect an academic community from the irrational or vicious actions of demented individuals. Architecture is about making connections, reinforcing relationships on campuses between groups of people, and the buildings they occupy. One useful concept is that of transparency: if public spaces, whether interior or exterior, can be seen from a series of different perspectives, people feel more secure as they use them. Connecting public to private spaces through in-between zones allows people a comfort level as they use buildings sited in urban or campus environments.”

Daniel R. Mader

“The greatest change in our designs has come from our clients. Security used to be a top issue for a few select districts; now it's an issue for everyone. The type of security measures we incorporate in our designs deal with prevention, not exclusively reaction. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, in particular, has established a good strategic model in addressing this issue. Another challenge is the dichotomy between creating an embracing community building and a ‘fortress.’ As the impetus for more visible security increases, it will be our responsibility and challenge to provide a safe environment that is also aesthetically pleasing and inviting.”

David W. Short

“While security is important, with the recent issues at universities, it is important to create facilities that enhance interaction among students. The design should limit the isolation of students, and enhance community and interaction. The millennial students lead a more complicated life than their predecessors. They are exposed to greater complexities both in the world and with technology. These students lead a global existence with more media coverage and more exposure to the problems in the world. It is very important that our buildings provide the personal connection to students and staff that allows these students to excel in their education, communicate with peers and to avoid seclusion. This will enhance security of all buildings on the university campus.”

Ronald L. Essley

“Encourage more dialogue with school administrators to identify specific security requirements during programming and before document preparation. Limit number of entry and exit points in existing and especially in new school design. Install surveillance systems to provide security and mass notification for students and staff. Provide classroom doors with lockable hardware from the inside as a security alternative. Design an escape or rescue window in each classroom — a minimum of one window with an opening 3-feet-wide by 2-feet-high. Situate administrative offices at the main entry in front of the school that are well-marked with good external visibility to parking, and good internal visibility to the main lobby and corridors. Design the main school entry with a double-door vestibule with interior vestibule doors locked during class times. A second entry within the vestibule should access administrative space for visitor check-in only. Provide a maze entry for student restrooms in lieu of a door or vestibule, with lavatories outside of the restroom using gang sinks between girl and boy restrooms off the access corridor for more visibility and control. Provide an 8-foot-perimeter fence for all grade levels around the school site.”

Dan J. Tabor

“Our designs incorporate clear sightlines in all public areas. Schools must also include a higher level of security systems for building access and strategic camera placements at exterior and interior locations.”

Dave Irvin

“Security has always been a key part of good facilities design. It was just an aspect we did quietly as part of having buildings that provided what modern education requires. The difference is that now those aspects are more discussed, but the challenge remains the same — how to provide security without compromising the free exchange of people, ideas and culture that are a critical part of education.“

Craig A. Hamilton

“Exceptional events, whether manmade tragedies or natural disasters, have become a reality in planning and design on college campuses. We see a heightened awareness of contingency planning by campuses; this means, as an example, security and disaster planning is included as one of many considerations in building planning and design.”

Tim Baker

“Our school designs increasingly include well-illuminated open spaces and hardscape buffers between roads and buildings. Another important school and university design security feature includes prominently placed push-to-dial security boxes at various points across campuses.”

Jeffrey D. Ziebarth

“Safety and security should be considered before a single line is ever drawn on a campus building. Planning for a secure campus happens well before the final building details of locks, cameras and hardware are resolved. Buildings should have easy access and facilitate community interaction — vertically and horizontally — to deter suspicious behavior. Campus environments should be open and inviting, with obvious way-finding, good lighting and a well-maintained landscape.”

Gary Keep

“Solve the problem, not the symptom. In many of our education facilities, peer counseling is implemented to help identify students at risk. Comprehensive crisis plans guide the design process so that the physical building can aid all parties involved. Sophisticated security ID systems, electronic locks, secure entry vestibules, automatic visitor registration, satellite-linked cameras and security centers are all designed according to plans developed by administrators. As with any challenge, we engage leadership and experts to think through all possibilities. Sound planning will solve most problems.”

Rob Johnson

“Tragic events certainly increase awareness of the insecurities and vulnerabilities in the world in which we live. Our approach has always been grounded in simple fundamentals. It is essentially twofold — physical planning and facility supervision or operations. Both must be seamlessly integrated for success. While technologies and remote monitoring have become more common in the marketplace, our approach can be best defined as maximizing direct human interaction. Specifically, simple floor plans with clear sightlines for observing students at all times in all places; directing all visitors to an oversized vestibule with an air lock and security lock controlled by central administration; decentralized administration for increased contact hours and visibility between staff and students; increased amount of interior windows for ease of observation into classrooms, labs and other interior spaces; and site planning and campus planning that balances security from unwanted hostile visitors while keeping transparency and visibility clear from inside to outside.”

Ronald E. Murrell, Jr.

“In pre-K to 12 schools, secure entries have become standard. Multi-building facilities have given way to buildings with enclosed pathways and circulation patterns that enable easy lockdown. Today's educational facilities are commonly designed with pedestrian circulation providing a buffer from vehicular access. Modern technology has provided a wealth of tools as well. From visitor ID systems to surveillance tools, today's educators recognize the challenges they face and are anxious to explore new ways to ensure their students' safety.”

Kim Dale Hassell

“With recent events ranging from school shootings to abductions, how can one plan ‘fit’ all situations? How can we respect a student's privacy while also providing the safest possible facility? The answer is a blending of technology and design. In the design world, it doesn't take a prison-style design to provide a secure place for students. Nor does it take a massive security guard booth at the entry of your school campus or a high-wire fence to provide that feeling. Even if your school is already built, there are a few things you can do that aren't intrusive to your students' educational experience that still provide for the safest building. Design is in the details. Take a look at your school's entry points: what is your floor plan layout? Creating subtle barriers in which all persons entering have to pass through an administrative area in order to have access to the hallways is critical. To those visitors that are truly on site for business-related activities or are parents, they will be more than happy to oblige the entry protocol. Other ideas include technology-related items such as IP video or a DVR system, access-control panels with lock controllers, identification badge system, explosive-detection testers, night-vision cameras, quick alert or panic buttons, and hall monitors or security guards that are trained in the school's visitor-management protocol.”

Robert Kramer

“Security on campus residence facilities has been in the forefront even before the events at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Our planning for security includes well-lighted campus walkways and paths, clear directional signage, focused entrances for buildings and parking areas, and ‘front-door’ security in the form of card readers or other forms of digitized entry. Perhaps the most important form of security on a college or university campus, however, comes from an environment where no student can be lost from the social fabric of the school as was the Virginia Polytechnic Institute shooter. This is the most challenging aspect for the design of future residence facilities. How can we protect the individual right to privacy while encouraging the intellectual and emotional socialization which is at the heart of the educational experience?”

Tom Tingle

“As a designer of sports facilities with large public assembly occupancies, we take security issues very seriously. We work hand-in-hand with colleges and universities to develop security plans that are specific to each sports venue. These include not only the installation of security technologies, but basic planning and design approaches that will reinforce and complement the security technologies that are ultimately implemented.“

Mark Simon

“The best security is ‘natural’ — provided by sightlines through and across spaces. Glass walls can provide aural privacy while maintaining visual control of a place. We have used benches and berms to control vehicular intrusion while providing amenities outside buildings. We locate offices near entries so that there are always eyes on people's comings and goings.”

Peter Lippman

“We are planning our campuses as learning communities, since these are places designed around smaller learning communities, activity centers, and activity settings. In other words, this type of environment is layered to encourage people to come together, as well as promote opportunities for independent learning; these places share specific values, ethics and concepts which are reinforced in how the architecture is designed; these are places where interaction between students and teachers is encouraged; and these are places where students and teachers know one another. When people know one another, there is less need for providing additional technology to secure lives.”

Catherine Cruickshank

“All visitors are required to enter the office to be able to enter the school; the use of card readers for staff; and create separate entrances for after-school care with a doorbell.”

contributors

Brian Baer, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, President
baer architecture group, inc.

Tim Baker, AIA, Principal
Baker Barrios Architects, Inc.

Doug Coots, LEED, Principal/Director of Design
Bergmeyer Associates, Inc.

Bret Kronlein, AIA, Vice President of Education
BETA Design, Inc.

Lisa W. Lamkin, AIA, CSI, LEED AP, Principal
Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, Inc.

Craig A. Hamilton, AIA, LEED, Principal
Cannon Design

Todd Moss, President/CEO
Cannon Moss Brygger & Associates, AIA

Mark Simon, FAIA, Partner
Centerbrook Architects and Planners

Thomas J. Lindsey, aia, Education Design Group Director
Cole + Russell Architects, Inc.

Dan J. Tabor, AIA, Architect/Partner
The Collaborative Inc.

Dennis J. Bekken, AIA, NCARB, Director of Education
C2AE

Carrie L. Matlock, AIA, Principal
Dahlquist and Lutzow Architects, Ltd.

Mark Hutchinson, Principal
DES Architects + Engineers

Kevin Scully, NCARB, Partner/Principal
Design Collaborative, Inc.

Jim French, AIA, REFP, Senior Principal
DLR Group

John Weekes, AIA, Principal
Dull Olson Weekes Architects

Hal Aavang, AIA, Project Manager
Durrant

Ronald L. Essley, AIA, NCARB, REFP, President
Emc2 Group Architects Planners, PC

Daniel R. Mader, AIA, REFP, LEED AP, Chief Executive Officer/ President
Fanning Howey

Michael Paplow, AIA, Vice President, Director of Education Group
Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects

Christopher F. Brown, AIA, Associate/Project Architect
Flansburgh Architects

Alfred Vidaurri Jr., AIA, AICP, NCARB, Architecture/Planning Principal
Freese and Nichols, Inc.

Jeffrey P. Ludwig, AIA, Vice President
Gilbert Architects Inc.

David Reid, AIA, Principal
Gould Evans Associates

Jeffrey P. Larimer, AIA, CSI, Senior Associate
Harriman Associates

Tom Tingle, AIA, Vice President, National Director of Sports Architecture
HNTB Architecture Inc.

Catherine Cruickshank, Senior Architectural Designer
Hoffman, LLC

Dave Battle, LEED AP, Senior Associate
Integrated Design Solutions

Peter Lippman, Assoc. AIA
JCJ Architecture

Russell A. Davidson, AIA, President
KG&D Architects & Engineers, PC

David W. Short, Principal
KSQ Architects, PC

Anwar Hossain, AIA, Vice President
The Lawrence Associates, Architects/Planners, PC

James McDonough, AIA, Principal/Director of K-12 Education
Legat Architects, Inc.

Alexander “Lex” Long, AIA, LEED AP, Vice President
Long & Associates Architects/Engineers, Inc.

Ryan M. Pierce, AIA, Vice President/Principal-in-Charge, K-12 Architecture
L. Robert Kimball & Associates Architects and Engineers

Alan F. Hohlfelder, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal
MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni, Inc.

Rob Johnson, Principal
MBAJ Architecture

Robert M. Simons, AIA, Principal
MVE Institutional, Inc.

Jordan S. Knighton, AIA, Partner
NTD Architecture and Engineers

Christopher T. Doktor, AIA
Olson Lewis Dioli & Doktor Architects & Planners Incorporated

Jeffrey D. Ziebarth, AIA, LEED AP, Principal/National Higher Education Sector Leader
Perkins+Will

Steven Foote, FAIA, LEED AP, Chairman and Principal
Perry Dean Rogers | Partners Architects

Peter Gisolfi, AIA, ASLA, Design Principal/Senior Partner
Peter Gisolfi Associates

Anthony R. Palazzo, AIA, Principal Architect, K-12 Educational Design
Phillips Metsch Sweeney Moore Architects

Kim Dale Hassell, AIA, Partner-in-Charge, Education
Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP

Ronald E. Murrell Jr., AIA, Principal
RossTarrant Architects, Inc.

Mark Saccoccio, Principal
Saccoccio and Associates

Gary Keep, CEO
SHW Group

Robert Kramer, FAIA, Senior Associate
SMMA

David R. Snapp, President
Snapp & Associates, Inc. Architects

Michelle L. Brune, Assistant Professor, Housing & Interior Design Program
Southeast Missouri State University

Britt Embry, AIA, Vice President
SPARKS Education, a division of Crafton, Tull, Sparks & Associates, Inc.

Gerald S. Hammond, FAIA, LEED AP, President/CEO
Steed Hammond Paul

John Pears, RIBA
Steffian Bradley Architects

Dave Irvin, Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President of Facilities and Plant Operations
University of Houston

James Huettl, AIA, CSI, President/Director of Architecture
USKH Inc.

Brad Paulsen, AIA, Vice President, K-12 Education Practice Leader
Wight & Company

A special thanks to all of the design professionals who contributed to this discussion.

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