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Editor's Focus: Insight and inspiration

Nov. 1, 2014
The “Architectural Portfolio” has been showcasing those education facilities that have exemplified the best in school and university design, planning and construction for more than 30 years.

Much like America’s overall economy, the outlook for education capital-improvement and construction funding is improving. Schools and universities are taking full advantage of the improved climate to focus on projects that will not only address pressing infrastructure issues, but also help create exceptional learning environments for this and the next generation of learners.

Many education institutions already are creating facilities that are making a contribution toward this goal—to the benefit of students, staff and the communities they serve.

Examples of these facilities can be found in our latest issue. The “Architectural Portfolio” has been showcasing those education facilities that have exemplified the best in school and university design, planning and construction for more than 30 years. Judged by an independent panel of education administrators, facility professionals and architects, the competition provides invaluable insight to others looking for ideas for their next projects.

Winners of this year’s program represent a cross section of institution and building types. The top K-12 honor was bestowed upon the Earl Shapiro Hall Early Childhood Center, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago. Designed by FGM Architects, the William W. Caudill Citation winner was called by the jury a “stunning urban solution.”

The top higher-education award was presented to the Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex at the University of Texas, Austin. The jury noted the Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects’ project was an ideal representation of the spirit of the Louis I. Kahn Citation… “this one does it all.”

This year’s jury was an exceptional group of professionals that spent two days together reviewing myriad projects. Our sincere thanks and appreciation to Art Frazier, director, facilities management & services for Spelman College, Atlanta; Kim Keener, manager of facilities and community education, Robbinsville Board of Education; Karina Ruiz, associate principal, Dull Olson Weekes-IBI Group Architects, Portland; and Dina Sorensen, project designer, VMDO Architects, Virginia.

Of course, the Architectural Portfolio would not exist without the architectural firms and institutions that tirelessly work to create environments that every school and university can gain insight and inspiration from—we thank you.

About the Author

Joe Agron Blog | Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher

Joe Agron is the editor-in-chief/associate publisher of American School & University magazine. Joe has overseen AS&U's editorial direction for more than 30 years, and has helped influence and shape national school infrastructure issues. He has been sought out for comments by publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, ABC News and CNN, and assisted with the introduction of the Education Infrastructure Act of 1994.

Joe also authors a number of industry-exclusive reports. His "Facilities Impact on Learning" series of special reports won national acclaim and helped bring the poor condition of the nation's schools to the attention of many in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education and the White House.

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