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Make a Difference: Design Schools to Benefit Learning

Aaron Jobson, AIA, ALEP; Principal

Irene Nigaglioni

DOWA-IBI Group Architects, IN2 Architecture

Domains: Process, Toolbox   

Course Level: Intermediate

Learning Units: 1 LU/HSW

Room: A706

Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 4:30 pm


How can you improve student achievement by up to 16% without changes to pedagogy, teachers, curriculum or students? The answer is through well designed school facilities. This workshop will review current research from the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, Harvard University, and others that reveal clear evidence that the physical characteristics of a classroom impacts learning, and furthermore, that a link exists between well designed school facilities and increased academic achievement. The workshop panel, representing leaders from A4LE, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and the AIA Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA CAE), will discuss how this research can be applied to school designs through the use of the CHPS Criteria. Lastly, attendees will receive recommendations on how to apply the findings to real world examples through an interactive Design Thinking exercise, as well as gain an understanding on how to utilize the Design Thinking methodology to successfully work with diverse groups to develop innovative design solutions in their own schools and communities.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand how classroom design directly impacts the physical environment and academic performance.
  2. Explore the current research supporting the link between school design and student performance.
  3. Find out the specific classroom physical features proven to improve students’ academic performance.
  4. Take away practical ideas for educators and designers to apply these principles to their own spaces and building projects.