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July 29th, 2008

Virginia Educational Facility Planners - 2009 Annual Conference
March 2-3, 2009
Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, Roanoke, Virginia

Virginia’s chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners, International (VEFP) is accepting proposals for its annual conference to be held March 2-3, 2009 in Roanoke, Virginia. The conference attracts a broad range of professionals dedicated to the design, construction, operation and funding of educational facilities including architects, engineers, builders, directors of facilities, directors of planning, superintendents, school board members and members of the community at large. Each year conference planners attempt to balance forward-thinking ideas and practical applications with an emphasis on tools and technology that will advance the dialogue. Past presenters include Ian Jukes, Ed Mazria, Stephen Kellert, and Mark Milliron.

Interested presenters should submit proposals based on one of the following suggested topics: policies/procedures, planning, project management/delivery, research, safety/security, school size, sustainable schools, teaching/learning styles, technology or another related focus.

Proposals should be submitted to the CEFPI’s on-line speakers’ database ( by Friday, September 12, 2008. First-time users will be asked to register (free of charge). When prompted, please indicate that your presentation is available for “Chapter Workshops/Meetings.” You will also be prompted to include the following information with your proposal:

  • Presentation Title
  • Program Issue
  • Presentation Abstract (approximately 400 words)
  • Names of Presenters - include a brief bio for each
  • Presentation Education Objectives
  • Need for Opposing View Presenter
  • Special Presentation Needs or Room Layout Preferences

All speakers must register for the conference and pay the regular conference fee. All speakers must provide a digital copy of their presentation seven days prior to the conference.

Questions? Please contact Bill Bradley ( or Tina Carr (

The mission of Virginia’s Chapter of the Council of Educational Facility Planners, International is to promote creative and responsible planning of school facilities, to foster professional development, and to exchange best practice knowledge of Virginia school facilities in order to provide the best possible learning environment for all students.

AIA Schools in a Flat World Conference

June 19th, 2008

AIA Schools in a Flat World Conference
September 10-13, 2008

Helsinki, Finland

Globalization now affects every industry, as journalist Thomas L. Friedman illustrated in the bestseller, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century.

We invite you to attend “Schools in a Flat World,” a conference that will explore educational design solutions ranging from a small Arctic high school to a 100,000-student university in India. This gathering will attract architects, administrators, and school building professionals from six continents, who will share their unique challenges and design solutions.

Helsinki and its architectural treasures will form a memorable backdrop for meeting, learning from, and networking with education-facility architects from Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Best of all, “Schools in a Flat World” will deliver a program packed with sights, sessions, and stories that you will find nowhere else. Guided tours will visit Helsinki schools that show how design and construction can improve and enhance the learning environment.

Visit for more information or to register.

Summer Art and Architecture at Penn (PennDesign)

February 6th, 2008

Summer Art and Architecture at Penn (PennDesign): The Penn Summer Art & Architecture Studios offer opportunities for students who will be high school juniors or seniors in the fall of 2008. This is a rigorous, non-credit program consisting of intensive study and development of a portfolio of work in either architecture or fine art with concentrations in animation, drawing, filmmaking and photography. The program runs July 6 - August 2 with classes from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Cost is $3,045 for commuters and $5,105 for residents. Contact the Penn Summer High School Programs, (215) 746-6901, email or visit

North Carolina Design Camp!

February 5th, 2008

Dear Community Leader,

Attached is information about the annual summer design camps held at NC State College of Design. The purpose of these camps is to expose high school students to academic and professional pursuits in architecture, graphic design, landscape architecture, art + design and industrial design.
Camp projects developed by faculty of the College of Design challenge students to explore their creativity and critical-thinking skills while pushing them to try a range of techniques and media. In addition to studio projects, students will attend other supporting activities and events including lectures, films, and field trips. Design Camp is also a wonderful opportunity to meet students from all around the country who share similar interests.

Since its inception over 20 years ago, Design Camp has exposed more than 1,500 high school students to the exciting world of design. In 2007, Design Camp became an outreach program of CAM (Contemporary Art Museum). CAM joined the College of Design in February 2006, becoming the lead component in the college¹s Art + Design in the Community Initiative.

We need your help to reach students who would benefit from participating in this program. Please share this information with anyone who may be interested in participating. Please note that we can offer financial assistance to offset the cost of tuition based on financial need. I have included some materials that you may duplicate as needed.

Thank you for your assistance in promoting this opportunity. Registration for our 2008 camps will begin on February 18th. For more information please visit our website at .

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about the camps.

Nicole Welch
+ + + +
Nicole Welch
Curator of Education
(CAM) Contemporary Art Museum
NC State College of Design
Campus Box 7701
Raleigh, NC 27695
t: 919.513.0946
f: 919.515.7330

V/S American Days - Part I: History of the Chair

October 5th, 2007

Posted by Jen (October 4, 2007)

dscn5164 An interesting idea of how to create “movement” in the classroom! These photos were taken at V/S Headquarters in Germany in a beautiful countryside town of Tauberbischofsheim (Try saying that one fast three times! Took me three days just to figure out how to say it!) where Tiffany and myself were invited - along with some 100 US architects, designers, and dealers - to tour their manufacturing plant and listen to interesting lectures from visiting speakers.It was an invigorating experience! dscn5320 From winery tours to an enthusiastic lecture by Dr. Dieter Breithecker to meeting other like-minded individuals whose goal is to improve the physical world of schools to suit the children of tomorrow. One of the more interesting events of the visit was a tour of their on-site museum which features an exhibition titled, “The Classroom – School Furniture in the 20th Century.” Lucky for us, it had just been completed before our arrival. The exhibit took you through the ages of how furniture and school design has evolved. It is an “examination of school furniture and its direct impact on the wellbeing of the child. The museum presents an international cross-section of the history and development of school furniture from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present day. Educational, ergonomic and above all historic-cultural aspects are also included in the exhibition. Pioneering school buildings of the past century are presented in parallel.” ( Below is a “snapshot” of school chairs that have been used throughout the years - a lot of them should be recognizable.


It was amazing to learn that even in the early 1900s, they were even thinking about ergonomics and height adjustment for school furniture.



The museum had a great collection of sketches, models, and photographs to tell the story of not just school furniture design - but also of school design - and how each influenced the other. Going through the museum, I couldn’t think of how the past also influences the future - and it is important to know where we have come from in order to move forward in to make educated decisions and choices. It is not surprising that a company like V/S would realize the influence of designers and researchers on the evolution of school furniture design - with such great products as the PantoSwing chair.

A few days later, Dr. Briethecker spoke to use presenting a lecture titled “School Dynamics.” If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, I highly recommend it. “Dr. D,” a Sports and Physical Scientist, is the manager of the ‘Active School Movement’ in Germany and is Europe’s expert on the relationship between school furniture ergonomics and the physical development of school children. He is a promoter of keeping children active while learning - and has the research to back it up.

panto swing

One of his main arguments was that after conducting a passive exercise, like doing math problems, there should be a physical learning exercise, like counting to 50 while jumping up and down (for example). In addition, chairs should allow for flexibility and movement that is natural to children’s bodies. The PantoSwing chair, especially the one on casters, really supports the need for children (and adults) to move while carrying out “sitting” tasks. In his study “The Educational Workplace: What the ‘classroom of the future’ will look like,” he concludes the following: “Sitting in a static/passive educational environment impedes a student’s postural development in their adolescent development years. ” In addition, the test group that received furniture and teaching methods that allowed for movement and “motile physical behavior” showed “considered increases” in concentration performance. For more information about his work, please view this article titled “Beware the Sitting Trap.”
The research on how movement stimulates and supports brain function seems so obvious but still some believe that kids need to sit still in order to listen and to behave. But as research defines design, and design defines research, the ergonomic-movement-flexible chair continue to evolve……who knows what the future will hold?????


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