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This issue is sent in honor of long-time DesignShare friend and Awards jury member, John Mayfield, who died in November.

We wish John’s family, friends, and colleagues our deepest sympathies.

The educational and school design world will miss him greatly.

INTRODUCTION: A message from DesignShare’s founder, Randy Fielding:

AS WE ENTER OUR 10TH YEAR, THE DESIGNSHARE COMMUNITY is leading the charge to create a common language of design, one that supports all learners and engages all stakeholders in a transparent, inclusive process. Blurring the lines between living, working, learning, and place, the DesignShare community is joined by common ideas rather than geography.

STUNNING INNOVATIONS IN DESIGN are being launched by small teams with the sense to build on other innovations and the courage to experiment. Seemingly “backward” nations are leap-frogging advanced economies and implementing learner-centered curriculums and designs that support the multiple learning modalities demanded by the global economy. Educational frameworks and design ideas originating in London, Florence and Minneapolis are enhanced in Amsterdam, re-patterned in Thailand, lovingly developed in Melbourne, and showing up as new national standards in Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka - all in a few short months!

IN 2007, DESIGNSHARE will bring:

  • A SIMPLER path to find, learn, and publish your own ideas. A smarter infrastructure means that you no longer need to remember a user name or password to post a blog entry, edit your own profile, or update a company listing.
  • MORE GREAT STORY-TELLING, with feature articles and columns by headliners like Prakash Nair, Susan Wolff, Jeff Lackney, Wayne Jennings, and Stephen Heppell, and new stories by bold teenagers in Eastern Europe, seasoned educators in California, and research on topics ranging from small learning communities to personal student work stations, ergonomics, and security through environmental design.
  • A FULL LENGTH BOOK - THINKING FOR UNDERSTANDING - BY MELVIN FREESTONE, an Australian-based molecular biologist and educational innovator, with a wide range of practical ideas and strategies for connecting learning in Science, Civics, Literacy, Numeracy, ICT, the Arts and Personal Health that you can put to work immediately.
  • NEW DESIGN PATTERNS, extending the 25 “starter patterns” established in The Language of School Design (DesignShare 2005) to include new patterns by the world’s leading educational designers and also a competition open to all, with a design patterns forum.
  • AUTHENTIC PARTNERSHIPS between architects, educational communities, designers and manufacturers through DesignShare’s “Partners in Education” program. Shared best practice on furnishings, equipment and planning link students, teachers, designers and suppliers with a common reference.

Wishing you a year filled with the joy of learning and sharing!
Randy Fielding, LAX Airport, December, 2006


The 2007 Awards Media Kit with final Registration, Fees and Submission Details will be released in January. In the meantime, please go to the DesignShare Awards page to learn more about the overall program. Contact us if you’d like the 2007 Awards Media Kit sent to you or a design partner.

WHY PARTICIPATE? The DesignShare Awards program is unique in many ways because it extends well beyond the architecture itself: it focuses

  • first on learning,
  • second on the learners,
  • third on how the built or natural environment provides rich learning opportunities.

Furthermore, our goal is to encourage diversity and to remove all registration barriers. Ask us about the variety of registration levels created to support participation by nonprofits, smaller design firms, and students alike, all who submit projects alongside larger organizations from around the world.

Since 2000, the program has committed to challenging traditional standards and by focusing on learner-centered, cost-efficient and sustainable learning environments. It has documented hundreds of innovative school designs from 20 countries - all available online! Truly, no other awards program comes close to supporting learning at the heart of the design process.

Important Dates to Remember:

  • Discounted Early Bird Registration period: Feb 16 - March 15, 2007
  • General Registration period: March 16 - April 20, 2007
  • On-line Project File Submissions: March 1 - May 1, 2007
  • Registration Closed: May 1, 2007
  • International Jury reviews projects: May-August, 2007
  • Winning projects announced: September, 2007
  • Media Partner publications released: Fall, 2007

ERGONOMICS AND MOVEMENT: “Beware of the Sitting Trap in Learning and Schooling - ‘Ergo-dynamic’ concepts are decisive” by Dr. D. Breithecker

Dr. Breithecker offers a reminder to all of us to consider the vital role that ergonomic furniture design can have on the lives of our children in schools:

“Western civilizations include teaching how to sit still in their schools’ ‘hidden curriculum’. Most teachers seem to associate learning with quiet, disciplined sitting. “They are making concentration and cognitive attention dependent on physical inertness” - The students’ need for physical relaxation, signalized by fidgeting etc, is suppressed. “Movement is not desirable because it disturbs the class” - Many adults still think the ‘ideal’ student sits in class receptively, attentively and motorically passive.”

Note: This article is sponsored by VS America.

SAFETY & SECURITY: “Designing Healthy Schools Our Children Deserve” by Dr. Jeff Lackney and Christian Long (co-published in School Planning & Management, November, 2006). Excerpt:

“The recent pattern of tragic school stories in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Pennsylvania challenge school planning and management leaders to face a crucial decision ahead: will we allow such events to inspire educational fortresses based on fear that unintentionally divide or will we rise to the higher mission of creating learning environments that welcome, unify and inspire our students and communities?

To this end, we propose a 3-layered strategy a) using the principles of environmental design, b) moving away from monolithic and impersonal school citadels of “cells and bells,” and c) developing small learning community models that inspire learning and healthy communities.”

DOING GOOD: “The Impact of Room To Read” - Q&A with John Wood, founder and CEO of Room to Read, author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entreprenuer’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children

Sometimes a request for a single book can literally spark the creation of thousands of libraries and schools around the world. Such is the case with Room to Read. In approximately 6 years, Room to Read has created a network of over 3,000 schools and libraries in rural communties in Asia and Africa thanks to an email requesting donated books John sent out several years ago to friends and family.

DesignShare was thrilled to talk with John Wood about the evolution of Room to Read as a global change agent for literacy. We kept our ears open for ways for the school design community to get involved in this remarkable global effort. We hope you’ll visit his site, read the book, and get involved in this extraordinary organization.

12/06 Update:

  • Bestseller Lists: We’re pleased to mention that Leaving Microsoft to Change the World has just ranked as the #1 best seller in Hong Kong, the Chinese version is now the #4 best seller in Malaysia, and Hudson Books, which is the largest airport bookstore in America, chose the book as one of their Top Ten Non-Fiction titles of 2006. CONGRATULATIONS, John!
  • Signed Copies of the Book: Finally, if you’d like a signed copy of the book, contact Jillian at to work out the logistics including payment and shipping.
  • Goals for 2007: In Africa they will ramp up our efforts, building the Reading Room and Local Language Publication Programs in South Africa. The expansion plans include launching Room to Read in two additional countries, likely Zambia and Bangladesh, as well as laying the groundwork for our expansion into Latin America in 2008. With these two additional countries, they will be publishing local language books in at least 12 languages and reaching 1.5 million children in nine countries next year. In addition, these children will have access to over 1,200 new libraries we will establish in 2007. On average, Room to Read will be opening 24 new libraries per week!

PLANNING: “6 Essential Elements of Educational Facility Design” by Randy Fielding (co-published by CEFPI Planner, December 2006). Excerpt:

“Until recently, educators and architects have lacked clear criteria for evaluating educational architecture. Planning teams have struggled to find or invent effective models, without a common language of design. Fortunately, a substantial, readily accessed database of educational architecture over the last decade has resulted in a rapidly emerging language of best practices for planning and designing 21st century schools.

The emerging language of educational design supports both the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy, along with the demands of a global economy, which require that learners are curious, self-directed, and able to work across platforms. These six aspects of best practice offer essential elements that support the requirements of any contemporary educational framework.”

LIBRARY DESIGN: “Imagining the Future of the School Library” - Q&A with Library Experts, Doug Johnson and Rolf Erikson.

Doug Johnson: “I would hope the library will be a sacred space dedicated to honoring those who use the library to meet whatever informational, educational, socialization and personal needs they might have. The libraries with the broadest mission will be those that will remain vital. Let’s face it. The Net Generation wants its information and entertainment in digital formats. Ours may well be the last generation to use cellulose-based information storage technology (paper).”

Rolf Erikson: “[T]he 21st century school library must look beyond tradition to the future, to what is needed to help fulfill the educational mission, goals, and objectives of the school. Traditional library environments are primarily text-based, require learning the system from experts (librarians), and are constructed for individual use. This “traditional” model is no longer appropriate.”

LEARNING: “Sparking School Design Via Project Based Learning” - Q&A with John Sole, Project-based Service Learning Master Teacher and Founder of Guerilla Educators

If you had to pick a single educational technique, learning style, or pedagogy to drive the future of school design, what would it be?

This is precisely what we set out to answer when we recently asked John to challenge school designers/planners to consider the design inspiration of Project-based Learning (PBL). The result? John offers DesignShare’s community 10 essential questions (and answers) to spark the development of truly ‘hands-on’ learning environments for the future.

Note: This Q&A grew out of an earlier set of published conversations held between he and Jeff Lackney:

Stay tuned in 2007: John Sole and Guerilla Educators will be working with us to co-lead a DesignShare workshop focused on the connection between PBL and school design.

LEARNING STUDIOS: “Master Classroom: Let Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Jamie Oliver Show You the Future” - by Randy Fielding, Jeffrey Lackney, Prakash Nair (Originally published in Edutopia magazine, June, 2006). Excerpt:

“As school planners and architects, we challenge communities and clients to explain why a regimental row of desks facing a chalkboard needs to remain as a school’s primary building block. We ask them to review the eighteen modes of learning that educators accept as essential for success in today’s world, so they can see how a traditional classroom can accommodate only two or three of them.

But if not the old-style classroom, then what? How should the model evolve? In exploring this question with educators around the world, we’ve come up with at least three distinct “studios.” To help us, we called on illustrious thinkers who shaped the ideas of their times: Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and a modern master named Jamie Oliver. Destroying the traditional learning environment and creating something entirely new was a major challenge for our three maestros, but here’s what they came up with.”

BEST PRACTICE: “View From Denmark: Linking Aesthetics and Student Learning” by Ulla Kjaervang. Excerpt:

“Uninspiring and misplaced rooms are the reality on many schools and educational institutions in Denmark. For instance many of the schools which were built in the 60-ies were planned according to functional and financial requirements. It was very rare that the aesthetic dimension had high priority. Furthermore, many schools have been badly maintained which makes the conditions of the aesthetic even worse.

Because of an increasing number of pupils and changed requirements of the future educational class rooms, a lot of schools and educational institutions will be built and re-constructed in the coming years and this will cost billions. However, this gives us an obvious opportunity to improve the physical surroundings for pupils and students and to improve the aesthetic as well.”

Ulla’s ideas extend well beyond Denmark. Her article and case study suggest that there is a need to merge research, best practices and common sense associated with aesthetic design elements. The end result will undoubtedly have a pronounced impact on students and learning environments around the world.

HIGHER EDUCATION: “Planning an 800 Year Old Campus as a 21st Century Marketplace of Ideas” - Q&A with Pablo Campos, professor of Architecture at the Universidad San Pablo-CEU of Madrid

Note: Pablo won a 2005 DesignShare Honor Award for the Universidad de Salamanca. This Q&A asks Pablo to re-look at his award-winning project a year after it was reviewed by the DesignShare jury.

We were interested in re-visiting with a past Award winner who has a unique take on developing the university campus of the future. Pablo was asked to walk through the process of how he approached this planning project while allowing individual architects to create unique solutions within his master plan. Even more importantly, Pablo stressed the philosophical underpinnings of new ways to conceive the university setting within a very unique historical context.

“Educational Architecture can go beyond just being a “built floor” for the University; it can become the first lesson to be received by visitors and students. The “Educational Campus” will be able to play the role of transforming mentalities, as well as transforming the cultural, social and natural environment. Transformation through Education; transformation through Architecture.” - Pablo

EDUCATOR: “An Administrator’s View: Educational Impact of Innovative School Design and the Legacy of the Crow Island Elementary School” - Q&A with Beth Hebert

As the DesignShare team knows first-hand, there are many architects and planners that can make a great case for the value of innovative design for educational facilities.

On the other hand, when you can speak with a life-long educator who speaks with equal passion and wisdom about the merger of architecture and learning, there is much to learn. Such is the case when you have the opportunity to hear Beth Hebert speak about her experiences as a Principal at the Crow Island Elementary School in Winnetka, Illinois.

“Learning environments makes us stop and think a bit about what we mean when we talk about “learning” - and what spaces are compatible with that type of engagement.” - Beth Hebert

Paideia academyDESIGN: “Learning, Lighting and Color” by Randy Fielding. Excerpt:

“The desire for a broad spectrum of light and color is consistent with a more holistic curriculum - one that takes into account a variety of learning styles and modalities.

We all learn differently and at different times. We need a variety of lighting levels and qualities and colors of light.

It’s natural to want lighting that most closely matches the full spectrum of daylight. The pattern for full spectrum lighting is one example of how this is applied in a learning studio.”

PrakashVIEWPOINT: “Getting Beyond the School as Temple” by Prakash Nair (Originally published by Edutopia, July 2006). Excerpt:

“The concept of the community school and the related idea of the school as literally the center of its community have in a short time become sacred cows in many education circles.

As soon as someone expresses either idea as a goal, or attaches it to a design proposal, any meaningful discussion of where it fits in the future of education becomes almost impossible, and the need for tomorrow’s schools to deal with tomorrow’s needs gets lost in the mist of nostalgia for yesterday’ s schools.”

DESIGNSHARE BLOG: Since last spring, we’ve been developing a blog to explore various ideas circling within the field of school design. Ultimately, blogging allows for a different type of research, conversation, and connection than more traditional publishing. And it seeks to be interactive and conversational over time. Agree, Disagree, or have Questions about our posts? We welcome your comments!

HOW TO LEAVE A COMMENT: At the bottom of every post you’ll see these options: “No Comments” or a “(# of) Comments” - click there. It’ll take you to the full post you were interested in followed by a comment box at the end. Once you’ve typed your reponse, you’ll see the ‘captcha’ phrase (odd letter/number configuration). This authenticates that a real person is leaving the comment (and not a spam-bot). Once you’ve done this, hit submit and your comment will be posted.

SHARE IDEAS FOR NEW POSTS: We welcome your ideas. Contact us at with ideas for future blog posts.

RECENT POSTS: Here is a range of recent entries you may find of interest:

2006 AWARDS REVIEW: The 2006 Awards program was a great success!

Along the way, we were honored to work with great media partners in publishing the results of our annual Awards program. This year we were extremely pleased by the quality of articles that came from each publisher. Best of all? The winning teams and school communities get the attention they deserve on an even wider level than ever before!


“Annual DesignShare Awards” cover story
School Construction News
October 2006

“Building the Global Best”
Edutopia (George Lucas Educational Foundation)
November 2006

“7th Annual DesignShare Awards”
SchoolsforLife (UK)
December 2006

COMING SOON: The next DesignShare e-newsletter will be sent out in February. Each of the following topics and articles are tentatively on the drawing board for publication in early 2007.

  • Blogging as a Collaborative Tool for Design Teams and School Communities
  • OECD/PEB Compendium on Exemplary Educational Facilities
  • Designing School 2.0: Support Digital Immigrants and Emerging Technologies
  • Exploring KnowledgeWorks Interactive “Map of Education” — Trends and Potential
  • Innovation in the Dutch School Design Landscape
  • Inspiring Young Architects, Designers, and Planners to Enter the Field of Educational Facility Planning
  • Considering the Evolution of Higher Education Campus Design
  • Brain Science and School Planning
  • An Interactive Design & Curriculum Conversation by Australian Educators
  • Re-Thinking the Financing of Educational Facility Projects
  • Convergence: School Security Dialogue & Solutions


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Complete Design Manual is available at (888) 621-3344.
Download product drawings directly from the C/S Web site.


If you want to get word out to the school planning and design community, there is no better venue. DesignShare is the # 1 address worldwide for innovative school facilities and designing for the future of learning. Today, DesignShare gets nearly 2 million visits a year (150,000 visits each month), more than doubling where we were just a year ago.


“Partners in Education” Media KitPrint version or Web version.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact


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