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Archive for September, 2006
Student Population: A Tale of Two Cities September 27th, 2006

We’re struck by the similarities and differences of 2 urban school districts in the US that are facing declining student enrollment issues, but for very different reasons. As originally reported in Schoolhouse Beat (e-Newsletter published by American School and University magazine):

The 16-day teachers strike that ended earlier this month in Detroit may have cost the school district 25,000 students or more, district officials say. The Detroit News reports that the projected enrollment drop could lead to a cut of $190 million in state aid and almost certainly another sizable downsizing of schools and employees. In light of the gloomy estimate, the district has begun a publicity campaign to woo students back before the district’s official enrollment count is recorded on Wednesday.

The number of students attending New Orleans public schools has reached 21,610 students, only a little more than a third of the students in the system before Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the number is expected to rise somewhat once permanent facilities are repaired and more schools return home from their temporary quarters. Demographers have projected between 24,077 and 27,506 students returning this fall, based on the availability of housing in the city.

Two very different urban contexts. Both school systems have faced enormous challenges in the last few decades. Both have dramatically lost student enrollment in the last year…but for very different reasons.

While New Orleans rightfully fights to rebuild and reclaim the schools it has lost in an effort to bring students back, perhaps we ought to be giving similar attention and support to the Detroit public system’s own ‘re-building’ efforts.

Your thoughts?

Edutopia: Exploring a Child-Scale School Design in Maine September 27th, 2006

Great to see a 2005 DesignShare Recognized Value Award winner getting recent press for innovative design.

From the opening paragraph of the “A Kid’s Eye View: Smart architecture scaled down for Munchkin-sized Mainers,” (Edutopia Magazine, 9.06) it is clear that the design team walked in the shoes of the young kids they were creating learning environments for:

When Daniel Cecil was named lead architect for Kennebunk Elementary School in 2001, he took the school’s motto, “Look through the eyes of a child and see the wonders of the world,” to heart. He also took it literally.

“One of the first things my colleague Mark Lee and I did was walk on our knees in our office,” says Cecil, of Harriman Associates, in Auburn, Maine, when recalling his early work on the K-3 school, which is now two years old. “We wanted to see what things look like from a child’s perspective.”

Today, that slogan — prominently displayed in block letters on the muted green wall in the school’s spacious entryway — sets the child-centric tone felt throughout the 102,400-square-foot-campus, situated on 70 acres of lush woods in Kennebunk, Maine.

Check out the Edutopia slideshow to see the school up close.

Metropolis Magazine Seeks “Next Generation” of Energy-Minded Designers September 27th, 2006

One of the hottest panels at this year’s NeoCon event in Chicago was the Student Day Panel that touched base with past winners of Metropolis Magazine’s “Next Design” Competition to see where their innovative design projects have lead them:

The Next Generation competition was created in 2003 to promote activism, social involvement, and entrepreneurship in young designers. Metropolis saw the need for a new type of competition, one that went beyond the usual beauty pageants for finished projects, a competition that would generate and reward ideas.

Metropolis celebrates the next generation by rewarding imaginative young designers at large companies and recognizing the hard work of those striving with their own young firms or on their own as well as students—while some designers have a proposal ready and waiting, others are at the beginning of the process with an undefined desire to create and can use a kick start.

Well, the 2007 competition has just been announced, and given that its focus is on ‘energy,’ this might be an ideal merger of issues pertaining to 21st century learning environments and young designers seeking innovative solutions that could affect schools around the world. Especially school facilties in developing nations and communities struck by natural and/or man-made disasters.

Head over to Metropolis Magazine to learn more about the competition. Look for the following image (upper right) where you can learn all about the competition, past winners, and how to register for the 2007 program.

US Senate Considering Bill to Spur “Green” Schools September 27th, 2006

Worth keeping an eye out for the following with regards to sustainability and “green” schools:

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved a bill to authorize $25 million over five years and mandate steps aimed at stimulating growth of “green buildings.”

The bill, which the panel cleared Sept. 13., includes $15 million for a proposed General Services Administration “office of high-perfomance green buildings.”The office would coordinate federal agencies’ work on environmentally friendly buildings and do research.

The bill provides $5 million for Environmental Protection Agency grants to help schools deal with environmental issues.

Authorized funds are subject to appropriations. There has been no action yet on a similar House bill.

Thanks to Kristen at ArchNewsNow who took time to send an email with this story.

OECD’s 3rd Annual Programme on Educational Building Review of Innovative Schools September 26th, 2006

Heard of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) which sponsors the Programme on Educational Building (PEB) yearly review of innovative school facilities?

Either way, this might be a collection of innovative school designs worth reviewing:

The 3rd PEB Compendium features educational institutions from 20 countries selected by an international jury for their exemplary facilities.

This work addresses how the design, use and management of physical infrastructure can contribute to the quality of education. With full-colour photographs, plans and descriptions, the Compendium focuses on the functionality of 65 recently completed or refurbished buildings or grounds, chosen for their innovation in the areas of safety, sustainability, alternative financing, community needs and flexibility.

In addition to schools and universities, this third edition of the PEB Compendium covers pre-schools and gives special attention to how effectively the facilities meet the needs of their users: students, teachers, parents and the community at large.

To learn more, read the Executive Summary or go to this link to learn how to order the report itself.

CEFPI’s “School of the Future” Design Competition Targets Middle School Students September 26th, 2006

As part of the annual CEFPI School Building Week, we’d love to turn your attention to an invitation for middle school students to participate in a design program to imagine the “School of the Future.”

The following is an excerpt from the original invitation written by Barbara Worth, Associate Executive Director of the CEFPI Foundation:

Dear Colleague:

Spotlighting our nation’s schools and reinforcing the connection between school facilities and student learning, School Building Week creates greater public awareness of the importance of well-planned, high performing, healthy and sustainable schools that enhance student success and community vitality.

School Building Week 2007 features the School of the Future Student Design Competition. Curriculum for this design competition has been developed to address the middle school math standards, providing a vibrant venue for applying mathematical concepts relevant to students’ lives. This curriculum was developed through a generous donation from Centennial Contractors Enterprises, a School Building Week partner.

Each of the two units of study, Ideal Learning Environments and Designing the Floor Plan is broken down into lessons that not only emphasize mathematics, but also communication, teamwork and further connections to English, Communication, Social Studies, Health, and other Sciences. It is assumed that the included lessons are not a student’s first exposure to the standards and that prior teaching has provided requisite skills for success. The lessons are designed to be implemented once a week and the duration of both units are intended to last a total of one semester. Criteria for the resultant School of the Future project, narrative and video are also included.

Might be a great program to pass on to a middle school program near you and a great way to inspire young kids to imagine designing their ideal learning environment along the way.

Have the Miami-Dade School Design Prototypes Presented a Novel Approach to an Age-Old Paradox? September 26th, 2006

Note: Thanks to NCEF (National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities) for turning our attention to this story in their News section.

Not a day goes by without a community/district considering the long-term ‘value’ of prototype school designs. Seems logical at first. Design once, repeat multiple times, save money in the process. Why re-create the wheel, so to speak?

The question, perhaps, lies in IF prototype design both is logical and saves money, why it doesn’t inspire learning, and why is it so controversial?

Could the Miami-Dade (Florida) school system have come up with a new spin that not only maximizes the perceived value of prototype designs while also taking into account the creation of unique learning spaces over time?

‘’It’s simple to build boxes,'’ said Rose Diamond, the school district’s facilities chief. “It’s not simple to do important school buildings.'’

A dozen new schools, scheduled to open in 2007 and 2008, are the first products of an ambitious prototype program that Diamond proposed in late 2004. Copies of those schools are expected to follow regularly for at least a few years, cutting millions of dollars and dozens of months from the time and expense of drafting plans for each school from scratch.

Clearly, some members of the community do worry about the premise of prototype designs being a one-size-fits-all solution that misses something vital in the formula:

Much more common is the community perception that prototype schools are generic and bland, unsuited to a particular neighborhood’s students or architecture.

‘’Sometimes one size doesn’t fit all,'’ Burnett said.

Diamond dismissed that criticism, saying Miami-Dade’s prototypes can be customized for all types of curriculum and given facades to match any neighborhood.

‘’These are not cookie cutters,'’ she said. “They can adapt to a neighborhood, become an anchor in a neighborhood and a civic landmark that the school should be.'’

We’re thrilled to see the focus on adapting to unique neighborhoods, being an “anchor”, and finding ways for prototypes to step out of their replicated shadow stereotype.

Such a re-imagination of spaces grew out of a rigorous commitment to research that sought best practices found around the wold. Most impressive appears to be Diamond’s desire for her district’s students and educators to experience first-hand “artful design” within the prototype process:

Diamond, who was tasked by Superintendent Rudy Crew with eliminating overcrowding by the end of the decade, wanted more than quick construction. A former New York City building chief, she said she was horrified by some of the dull, intimidating and just plain ugly schools in Miami-Dade.

For these new schools, she wanted artful design.

She began the project by putting all four design teams — one for each prototype — together for nearly a year of research and development. They reviewed studies about how building design can influence student performance and talked with educators about their frustrations and wish lists for new schools.

‘’We literally scanned the planet to find the most innovative learning tools that are out there,'’ Murguido said. “We looked at England’s exemplary-school models; we looked at Canada, and what the Japanese are doing. We looked at California and Texas, and we took the best lessons out there to generate this new generation of schools.'’

Going beyond design for design’s sake, however, the district appears to have pushed hard to create spaces that invite light inside, to design environments that challenge the senses of kids, and to align the outer environment with the inner learning objectives:

Natural light and outdoor learning spaces were major topics. Every classroom has windows, larger and more plentiful than school building codes require. Indoor light is often reflected off walls or ceilings, which is less harsh than institutional fluorescent lights.

The early-childhood centers will have ‘’sensory gardens,'’ an outdoor patchwork of flower gardens, wood chips, gravel, grass and other materials that encourage young children to explore. Research suggests that such simple variety can boost learning.

‘’Butterfly gardens are popping up all over the place,'’ said Judy Marks, associate director of the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, a nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Department of Education. “A lot of that may seem like bells and whistles, but in the context of good ideas about sustainable design, there’s been a great deal of testing and winnowing of those concepts.'’

For more information, read the Miami Herald article and look at the unique sidebar features at the top of the page. They not only allow you to look at how each building type can evolve depending on the community and needs, but they offer an interactive video where Rose Diamond walks the viewer through a series of her district’s new plans.

Land ‘Appears’ Available, but Land Rush Haults School Projects in Virginia September 26th, 2006

Note: Thanks to NCEF (National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities) for turning our attention to this story in their News section.

From the Washington Post, 9.25.06, the following ironic tale of land-a-plenty but no place to build a school in fast-growth suburban Virginia.

Randy Vlad, a land shopper for the Louden County public schools, introduces a county facing the irony of an unprecedented land rush:

It’s a critical job in a system that plans to open 23 schools in the next six years as enrollment is expected to climb by 40 percent to nearly 70,000 students.

With its wide-open fields and expansive views, the western reaches of the county would seem the likeliest place to find land for a new campus. But efforts to restrict residential growth there have fueled a land rush over the past year, and planners say hunting for future school sites has been anything but easy.

Perhaps the answer lies in potential partnerships evolving between developers grabbing up the land and the district who will need to educate the home buyers’ kids over time. As anyone who thinks about school planning knows, real estate is often tied to the quality of schools…but you have to have campuses and facilities to even make a positive connection at the end of the day.

2006 Spring School Design Institute Report of Findings September 26th, 2006

In an effort to further conversations that are exploring how school houses are being designed and built in the urban context, the American Architecture Foundation (AAF) has released the 2006 Spring School Design Institute report.

School projects and scenarios in Chicago, Lincoln (NE), Syracuse (NY), Peoria (IL), and Nashville were analyzed in this event to help school district leaders consider innovative design practices in re-thinking educational facilities for their communities and long-range planning goals.

DesignShare was honored to be invited to paricipate in the 2-day event, working along side a passionate team of urban superintendents and design practitioners who pushed hard at new solutions in space planning, integrating technology, creating collaborative partnerships, and re-imagining educational spaces that inspire learning.

Additionally, consider reviewing related ideas from the Mississippi Design Institute report (based on a multi-day June, 2006 event), as well as last year’s report from the National Summit on School Designalso hosted by AAF.

David Warlick’s New Century School House Project Re-Opens Its Virtual Doors September 25th, 2006

While not a school planner or architect, one of the most intriguing voices speaking of new ways to imagine the schoolhouse of tradition is a 30-year master educator David Warlick. Perhaps you’ve seen him keynote a conference presentation or heard that he was working with a school district nearby. Perhaps you’ve come across his education-related podcasts or well-respected education blog writing.

Or perhaps you’ve already heard of the virtual New Century School House Project that he began building a few years ago and recently brought back to life. Here’s a quick description of the project:

I’ve decided to resurrect an old online project that I’ve been running for the past eight years. It’s called The New Century School House.The web site represents an old 1950s style school building that has been totally gutted of all relics of industrial age education. It is an empty shell. I want to invite you to come to the building and to adopt a room — repurposing that classroom (or library) for new century teaching and learning.

Certainly an intriguing concept. While DesignShare would love David to push a bit beyond the ’shell’ of a traditional school house, given what he advocates for in his blogging/podcasting/presentations, his formula offers a convention that allows all stakeholders to participate and still break out-of-the-box a bit. David adds the following that gives it a more tangible premise with a larger ideal held close:

Look at this as a canvas for professional educators to use to begin to paint a new picture of teaching, learning, and classrooms, designed to prepare our children for a future that will be information-driven,technology-rich, and rapidly changing.

Okay, you’ve got our attention. But what exactly does one do when they ‘get there’?

First, click the type of school you are most associated with:

  • Elementary School (Primary)
  • Elementary School (Intermediate)
  • Middle School
  • Secondary School
  • And then the re-imagination school ‘design’ really begins:

    Find an empty room. [Note: here are the rooms chosen when the project was re-opened this past week] It will be labeled, Adopt this Room.You’ll be asked for some information about yourself and then to describe what you think teachers and students should be doing in that room to make students more world-ready. And then you will be asked to list and describe what needs to be in that room for the described activities to take place — what kind of hardware, software,infrastructure, furniture, books, lighting, etc.

    If you’re interested in learning more, here at the Guidelines for participating in the New Century School House Project and designing a classroom of your own.

    New Urban High School in Philadelphia Re-Designs the Notion of Space for 21st Century Research & Collaboration September 25th, 2006

    Very interesting, indeed. Not the typical high school student’s description of going to an urban high school in modern day America:

    “When I first came here I was like, ‘This school is so cool’ - because most schools are boring,” Olivia Billbrough, 14, said. “When you walk in this school it’s all bright and it looks like a happy place to be.”

    But ‘uncommon’ is what already appears to set the newly formed Science Leadership Academy that opened on September 7th in the city of Philadelphia:

    So new is this Center City school, housed in a converted office building at 22nd and Arch streets, that boxes full of equipment were atop classroom laboratory tables waiting to be unpacked last week.

    Not just a converted space, but a transformation for what 21st century learning spaces can mean in the first place!

    From a design point of view, a new high school with a marked investment in cutting-edge technology that chooses not to have a computer lab in this day and age certainly stands out to us. The founding principal explains:

    While giving a tour to visitors, Principal Chris Lehmann noted some differences between his school and traditional schools. For one, he has no computer lab, per se.

    “Nobody talks about going to pencil lab. A pencil is a tool that we use. So why do we talk about going to computer lab? We want to get these tools into the kids’ hands and make it part of their day-to-day existence,” he said, explaining why each student was given an Apple iBook G4 computer.

    “Enhancing Interactions”: Koolhaas Unveils New College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornel University September 25th, 2006

    From the Architect’s Newspaper comes the following high-design story from Cornel University:

    On September 19 Rem Koolhaas and his associate Shohei Shigamatsu of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) presented their design of Milstein Hall, future home of Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning, in a public forum on the school campus.

    The $34 million building, a floating steel and glass box, will physically adjoin existing campus buildings Sibley Hall and Rand Hall, which had been proposed for demolition in previous schemes. Plans for the new building include studio and exhibition spaces, a 300-seat auditorium, a library, and a roof plaza for the school’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning. Underneath the glass building will be a raised, hill-like structure, the slopes of which will accommodate the raised seating of the auditorium.

    The building project was one of the first initiatives of Cornell’s architecture dean, Mohsen Mostafavi, who arrived in the summer of 2004 from the Architectural Association (AA) in London. Groundbreaking is expected to begin in 2007.

    But will the Cornel students embrace the design that is meant to help enhance their educational life?

    When Mostafavi opened the floor to audience questions at the end of Koolhaas’ presentation, one student brought up her concerns about the availability of studio space in the new building. Koolhaas answered simply — and to some audience laughter—that “there are as many studios as they asked for.” Mostafavi elaborated that the net gain of square footage for Milstein Hall was 10,000 square feet, and that by moving the Fine Arts library from its current location in Sibley Hall to Milstein, more studio space would become available for students in Sibley.

    Mostafavi encouraged students to express their feedback about the plans for Milstein Hall, both by speaking to the students on the planning committee and by e-mailing project leader John McKeown.

    Other students voiced similar concerns about the practicality and division of the available space in Milstein. Jesica Bello ’11, a first-year AAP student, said that she “loved the building,” but felt there was “too much common space,” and a lack of separation between common areas and studio space.

    Adriana Garibaldi ’09 agreed. She felt that the design for Milstein Hall was neglecting the Foundry, the sculpting studio behind Sibley Hall, and that there existed “practical issues” with the building’s design.

    What grabbed our attention (from the original article) about the design premise was the focus on a new way of enhancing collaborative/learning spaces, although you have to hand it to the students themselves who are the ones who will be testing the ‘interactive’ waters first-hand one day soon:

    Mostafavi was quoted in an article in The Architect’s Newspaper in February as explaining “This is a different project. Now that it is more interdisciplinary, we need to have spaces that enhance these interactions.”

    “Catalyst for Collaboration”: Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University September 25th, 2006

    Thanks to ArchNewsNow for this story about the The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State Univeristy which was named R&D magazine’s Lab of the Year for 2006:

    Form and function are the calculus of every architectural project. But rarely has that mandate provided challenges as demanding as the construction of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University in Tempe. Bordering on Phoenix, ASU is the fourth largest university in the U.S.

    A “catalyst for collaboration”:

    The Institute, a state-of-the art research facility, creates a structural nucleus for the interactive convergence of the most advanced contemporary sciences. It serves as a catalyst for collaboration between the historically disparate disciplines of chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering. The first 13 research centers represent this spectrum and include applied nanobioscience, bioelectronics, infectious diseases, and environmental biotechnology.

    A university’s vision that included dynamic settings, environmental strategies, openness, and spaces that would “encourage intellectual fusion”:

    The vision presented by ASU President Michael Crow was determinant and specific in detail. Design elements must create a dynamic setting of openness and easy access to “encourage intellectual fusion.” It should utilize natural light, provide views from all workspaces, and the infrastructure should be flexible to respond to unforeseen changes in biotech. Visually it must relate to the campus architecture and be “inspiring to occupants as well as the community.” Additionally, the Institute should express its ecological focus with green strategies applied to materials, water, and energy conservation.

    Criticism of UK School Building Process Warranted or Not? September 25th, 2006

    A recent Guardian article (”Flagship Schools: On Shaky Foundations,” 9.21.06) takes a look at the multi-billion dollar renovation and building process impacting schools throughout England.

    The article clearly points to issues within the massive national program that is attempting to update every school building over 50 years of age:

    But as more buildings open up, problems are coming to light. Design flaws are being reported. And experts are starting to query whether the programme is capable of delivering the radical change intended. They fear it might simply result in a lot of “old new schools”.

    A recent school audit by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), said that half of the schools built since 2001 have been completed to only a poor or mediocre standard, and that nearly all had failed to tackle basic issues of environmental sustainability such as providing natural daylight and ventilation.

    The question, of course, is whether or not the criticism is warranted or based on an easy target due to the size of the program. And more importantly, what the criticism will bring about at the end of the day. The following article excerpt caught our attention in terms of the complexity of such national programs:

    So why is this spending spree throwing up such problems? The majority of new-school building now comes under the Building Schools for the Future programme, the successor to the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Under this programme, as with PFI, contracts to build new schools are delivered via competitive tendering. Consortia, led by large contractors, bid to deliver packages of new schools to local education authorities, and bids are scored according to weighted measures. But critics say that education authorities are inexperienced in dealing with major building programmes, that consultation with heads and teachers can be sketchy, and that the pressure to get the schools built is squeezing out thoughtful design.

    The final comment seems to get to the heart of it. We suggest, however, that this isn’t just a matter of a multi-billion dollar program attempting to re-make an entire nation’s school facility stock, but the heart-n-soul of every school design project. And while it may be easy to point a finger at the educatioal authorities who lack the ‘experience’ of such school building programs, the ‘process’ by which all stakeholders join the table might be where the greatest gaps occur:

  • A lack of shared language.
  • A focus on expertise rather than collaborative decision making.
  • A design process that winnows down real opportunities for innovation and thoughtful exchange.
  • Your thoughts?


    Organizations mentioned in the article that are worth learning more about:

  • CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment)
  • Building Schools for the Future
  • British Council for School Environments (part of School Works )
  • A+DEN: A New Generation of Design Education September 25th, 2006

    Anyone who has had the opportunity to watch kids in a school design charrette session understands first-hand the power of the design process to harness imagination and dreams for the future.

    We were reminded of this recently via an invitation by A+DEN (and the collaborative team of the American Architecture Foundation and Chicago Architecture Foundation). To that end, we’d like to encourage anyone who has the opportunity to be in Chicago, Illinois from October 27th-28th to consider registering for the inagural A+DEN (Architecture and Design Educators Network) Conference.

    Entitled “Identify. Connect. Elevate.”, the conference embraces K-12 design education and brings together key voices in the education and design/architecture fields. Their goals immeidately seek to “elevate the practice and shape the future of design education nationwide.” Whether for education in general or the practice of school design in specific terms, clearly this will be a worthy event to keep tabs on this year and beyond.

    Featured in this first-ever A+DEN conference will be the following:

    Keynote Speakers

  • Meredith Davis, College of Design, North Carolina State University
  • Fred Dust, IDEO
  • Anna Slafer, International Spy Museum
  • Panel Moderator

  • Edward Lifson, Chicago Public Radio
  • Conference 2006 Presenters

  • American Architectural Foundation
  • Architecture Centre Network, UK
  • Architecture Explorations, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Architectural Foundation of San Francisco
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation
  • Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
  • Learning By Design: Massachusetts
  • Midlands Architecture + the Designed Environment, UK
  • National Building Museum
  • Next
  • Oak Park School District
  • 2006 Design Award Program Winners Announced! September 18th, 2006

    7 years of reviewing innovative school design projects from around the world…and the Review team finds itself still falling in love with ever-new ways of imagining the future of learning environments!

    Whether it be a truly child-scaleKindergarten in Argentina that challenges Guadi for vanguard status, an community’s decision in Alaska to protect an ‘open school plan’ as they reimagined an elementary school, a high school in Singapore that re-fuels the metaphor of school as textbook in bold scientific and mathematic terms, or an enlightened academy in California that chose students that are often the first to be overlooked to be its first occupants…the future of school design is very bright, indeed!

    2006 Honor Winners (clockwise from upper left): Nus High School of Mathematics & Science (Singapore); Kindergarten #911 (Argentina); Feather River Academy (California, US); Chugach Optional Elementary School (Alaska, US)

    Oh, and we are thrilled to once again be working with great media partners who will be publishing print versions of the Award winning projects later this fall: School Construction News, Edutopia (George Lucas Educational Foundation), and the UK-based Schools4Life (in conjunction with Building Schools for the Future).

    Read the 2006 Commentary to get a feel for all 4 Honor Award winners briefly mentioned (and shown) above, as well as to learn about all of the 40 winning projects submitted from around the world! Or head straight to the list of all 2006 winners to explore designer and educator narratives, building specs, images, and so much more!

    And remember: the 2007 Design Awards program is only a few months away. We’d love to consider your team/community’s project and share its innovative solutions with the rest of the world!

    New DesignShare Launched September 17th, 2006

    After an intense summer of work, the DesignShare team proudly introduces version2.0 of the DesignShare site — supported by a WordPress engine with a much cleaner interface to welcome all vistors.

    Since DesignShare began in 1998, the team’s priorities focused on presenting high-quality resources with an alignment towards best practices from around the world of school design. Additionally, with an eye on the 21st century, our conversations centered on provoking a new way of approaching the field of school design. The ‘look’ of the site, however, never quite matched what lay inside.

    This spring/summer, the DesignShare team began to re-imagine the design of the site in more invigorated and dynamic terms. Phase 1 set out to include:

  • ‘Cleaning up’ the overall look of the site to match the quality of our resources/partnerships.
  • Re-articluating our mission in bolder terms. You may have also noticed a new tagline: “Designing for the Future of Learning” which both embodies the innovative school design roots of DesignShare and a new call-to-arms for all stakeholders to embrace our educational facilites/campuses as part of something much more profound than what history demanded.
  • Preparing a series of tools that will allow our global community to participate in much more dyanmic terms over the next year and beyondl.”
  • Strengthening past partnerships and establishing new collaborations to help chart a collective course to help change the language of school design around the world.”
  • This, of course, is only the beginning. Version2.0+ (and beyond) will up the ante on web-based tools and collaborative experiences that will further draw together the larger community of learning environment stakeholders. As the team has said many times in behind-the-scenes conversations, the future of DesignShare lies in fostering the community’s own involvement and contributions!

    We welcome your comments about what you think of the new ‘feel’ of the DesignShare site from a design standpoint and a user experience point of view. Please contact us at at your convenience — we’d love to hear from you!

    What is DesignShare? DesignShare is the central address for the very best in educational facilities and their impact on the learning process. DesignShare provides an invaluable service as a facilitator of ideas and resources about best practices and innovation in schools from early childhood through the university level. Who is DesignShare’s audience? DesignShare reaches a truly global community of professionals. More than 150,000 architects, planners, educators, and facility decision makers visit the site each month. Architects who specify products for schools and universities make up over half of DesignShare’s total readership. Who are our sponsors?
    Fielding Nair International: Architects and Change Agents for Creative Learning Communities
    VS America, Inc.: Ergonomic educational and office furniture.

    Become a SPONSOR by Joining the "Partners in Education" Program.

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    (Please note that DesignShare does not own the rights to most of the images on our web site. If you want to use an image in your own work, you must contact the architectural design firm directly in order to get permission.)
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