What Architects Can Learn from the Most Vulnerable Students in Our Schools

2:15 PM
 3:15 PM 


Designing for the most vulnerable student means every student can thrive. This is based on the popular assumption that a school designed around the success of the least adaptable student will inherently benefit every student from the least to most adaptable. The student profiles of racial and ethnic minority, religious minority, at-risk students, students with behavioral concerns, neurodivergent students, LGBTQIA+ students, students experiencing homelessness or poverty, and other vulnerable students fundamentally diverge from many of their peers in most schools. In a climate where limited funding and lack of understanding often result in schools designed to suit the majority, the perspectives of these students can be left behind. This may unintentionally compromise the educational success of more vulnerable students. Understanding the common and unique components of these vulnerable user groups can help architects adapt school settings to their needs. This presentation examines and discusses the key components of these user profiles and offers specific architectural adaptations to help meet their needs in generalized school settings.

#1: Gain an understanding of the needs of vulnerable student populations
#2: Explore ways to address the challenges of vulnerable students in school architecture
#3: Learn how the school environment can support, engage, and motivate vulnerable students
#4: Obtain generalizable resources and information that they can use to start the conversation about building for vulnerable students in their own districts

Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning: Manages a master planning process that combines educational planning, facilities assessment and utilization, demographic research, capital planning and educational specifications with a community-based vision to establish a plan for learning environments. This includes the ability to translate existing or aspirational instructional models to specific programming and spatial relationships.

Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Helena Jubany, FAIA, Principal, Education Thought Leader, NAC Architecture
Helena is an Education Thought Leader for NAC Architecture. She has advanced her practice for the last 28 years by developing a collaborative and inclusive process that promoted diversity and advocated for outstanding design on educational facilities. Her passion for design of educational facilities has resulted in several international assignments including projects and speaking engagements in China and Brazil. Helena is the founding president for the A4LE Southern California Chapter.

Anistasha Lighting, Director of Research and Experience Development, NAC Architecture
As a human factors and research specialist, Tasha is passionate about gathering, applying, and understanding influential information. Tasha is driven by the understanding that our environments shape and influence our emotions, experiences, and lives in meaningful and profound ways. Understanding those influences, and how the environment can be improved in order to improve the lives of people, is what drives her passion for research as part of an architectural team.

Philip Riedel, AIA, ALEP, Principal, PK-12 Market Sector Leader, NAC Architecture
As PK-12 Market Sector Leader, Philip engages all three of NAC Architecture’s offices in creating schools through evidence-based design to reflect the needs of each community in which a school is built. Philip was the 2013 Washington Chapter President and the 2018 Pacific Northwest Region President for A4LE. The knowledge gained from his 20 years of involvement in PK-12 school research and design helps him interact with educators and speak their language, resulting in facilities that best support their mission. In addition, Philip is a longtime of places which support equity for each student and vigorous community engagement to develop tangible community connections in the built environment.

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



+1 480.391.0840
11445 E. Via Linda, Ste 2-440
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259 USA