A4LE’s annual student design competition, SchoolsNEXT, challenges middle school students to plan and design sustainable and resilient learning spaces that encourage innovation, critical thinking and collaboration. This session explores the past 3 years of student projects, identifying considerations and recommendations from the student perspective of what their learning environments need to embrace and support. This session will be co-facilitated with SchoolsNEXT chairs alongside SchoolsNEXT participating students. Students will respond to design-thinking questions to illustrate their first-hand perspective, with the goal of informing intentional learning space design. A call to action will be issued to attendees to share the impact of the SchoolsNEXT design competition with school districts for future participation, to build and inspire future generations of architects and designers.
1. Explore design concepts and considerations as seen through the eyes of middle school students around the world.
2. Discuss practices for intentionally gathering and leveraging student voice in the design and planning process.
3. Commit to listening to and learning from the true users of the spaces you design, students.
4. Issue a call to action for recruiting future student participants to inform equitable design and inspire the next generation of architects and designers.
Michelle Carpenter, Chief strategy officer, Natural Pod
Michelle is the chief strategy officer (CSO) at Natural Pod, a company focused on creating better learning environments. Michelle specializes in developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives, ensuring Natural Pod thoughtfully supports students and educators within their learning environments. Michelle has served as the SchoolsNEXT Southeast Chair since 2019.
Steven Turckes, FAIA, ALEP, LEED AP, PreK-12 Global Practice Leader, Principal, Perkins&Will
Steven is the national director of the K-12 Educational Facilities Group for Perkins&Will, an international award-winning architectural firm specializing in the research-based planning and design of innovative and sustainable educational facilities. An enthusiastic advocate for advancing education through design, Steve has led the development of innovative K through 12 schools by educating communities, sharing his expertise, and transforming architecture for education. Steve firmly believes in the power of education and educational environments to change lives.
Bill Bradley, Principal, Stantec