2012 Architectural Portfolio Commentary

Nov. 1, 2012
Commentary from this year's Architectural Portfolio.

In August, four jurors from around the country convened to judge this year’s Architectural Portfolio. The jury considered the following when determining citation winners and outstanding designs:

21st-century schools. The space should be student-centric, considering the use of daylighting, seating, efficient use of space and materials.

Community use/partnerships. The building should maximize space and costs.

Sustainability/Energy efficiency. The design should consider the long-term, including using the school as teaching tool. It should incorporate measures that are integral to design but also "clever," and consider the comfort of people inside. It also needs to be appropriate and still be a place people "want to be in."

Design that is reflective of the culture/community. The design should consider the societal or regional culture.

Design that respects its environment. The design should respect the master plan, keeping in mind the context of the building, and the tradition that may be been developed over the years. It should not pander to traditional architecture "just because."

Kids want to learn where they live. The design should consider new trends, and users should enjoy the environment. The design should incorporate informal spaces for learning, such as using the outdoors.

Flexibility. The building should be adaptable as the curriculum catches up. It should be a place the school community can "grow into."

Why things are changing. The design process should be inclusive and explain how a facility has to change to those who may be resistant. This message should be conveyed upfront for acceptance down the line, such as through design charrettes.

Maintenance and materials. The design should inspire students to take care of their environments. Materials should be used in a different/significant way. It should maximize square footage, and change the paradigm.

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