I recently visited the campus of my alma mater. Although I'd been through town many times over the years (and kept up with construction online), I haven't wandered the campus like a true alumna in quite some time.
Wow, was I surprised. My old residence hall, a four-story building with no air conditioning, has been upgraded to a living-learning community, complete with sophisticated access control, food service and a transformed facade. The rec center where I logged many hours is now a complex series of spaces, including a natatorium, spa, sophisticated weight-training area and leisure pool.
And the journalism school, once a disjointed combination of really old and semi-new buildings: a new facility with the technology to match.
Once the shock (and jealousy) wore off from walking on a campus that had changed so dramatically, I actually was excited for today's students as they are challenged for the future.
In this annual Architectural Portfolio issue, the main winners struck the jury as facilities that will excite and challenge students in dramatic ways. The Children's School, Stamford, Conn., the Caudill winner, is “reminiscent of the Crow Island School,” according to this year's jury.
The Kahn winner, Peninsula College's Library and Administration Center, is a new gateway to campus, inviting students and Port Angeles, Wash., residents to engage in the life of the academic community.
Three special citations — The Atrium School, Watertown, Mass.; The Chapin School, New York City; and the University of Kansas, Lawrence — that use design to inspire.
A special thanks to this year's jury: Will Cumberford, Patrick Guinnane, Caroline Lobo, Ray Mirizzi and Steven Shiver. Thank you for sharing your valuable time and experience this year in choosing projects that will energize the education design community.
If you are planning a new facility or renovating an existing one in your district or on campus, I'd recommend taking a walk around a place you haven't been in awhile. You may be surprised and re-energized about the future.
Lustig is executive editor of AS&U.