An Eye on Design

The five jurors for the 2006 Architectural Portfolio competition were in search of designs that inspire students, use space efficiently, and offer exceptional teaching and learning environments. In their deliberation, they touched on all points of the following criteria:

  • Innovation

    The design of the learning environment shows originality in its function, the efficiency of its systems and the materials used.

  • Image

    The project supports the institution's mission, fits into its context and blends with the surrounding environment.

  • Function

    The organization, wayfinding and flow of the design meet the institution's needs and support its purpose.

  • Flexibility

    The learning environment is flexible and can adapt to change.

  • Maintainability

    Systems and materials are efficient and durable.

  • Sustainability

    The project answers to environmental concerns.

  • Security

    The design provides a safe and secure learning environment.

  • Community

    The project offers opportunities for students and teachers to gather and collaborate.

  • Balance

    Aesthetics are balanced with function. The project's scope, quality and costs are aligned.

  • Personality

    The project's design has “spirit” and helps inspire students.

After reviewing the projects, the jury commented that schools sometimes have a tendency to be designed in “silos,” where it is hard for communication or collaboration to take place. Instead, education institutions at all levels should strive to create opportunities for students and teachers to come together. Breakout spaces can be designed to foster interdisciplinary learning and support multiple uses, which can help create culture and community.

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