AIA Announces Educational Facility Design Awards

WASHINGTON — The American Institute of Architects’ Committee on Architecture for Education selected 13 educational and cultural facilities for this year’s Educational Facility Design Awards, which aim to identify trends and emerging ideas, honor excellence in planning and design and disseminate knowledge about best practices in educational and community facilities.x 

The categories for the awards were divided into levels of Citation, Merit and Excellence.

 Photo Credit: Eduard Hueber

The recipients of the Excellence Category include the Royal Conservatory at the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning in Toronto, a historic restoration and adaptive reuse of two Victorian masonry buildings and the addition of a new pavilion which houses practice studios, classrooms and a 1,135-seat hall. The architect is Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects.

The GFS Sustainable Urban Science Center in Philadelphia, designed by SMP Architects, is a lab classroom building featuring rainwater harvesting systems, green roofs and raingarden landscapes.


Photo Credit: Halkin Photography

The design firm worked with the Germantown Friends School to support student engagement in the lab — “within, around, and in some cases, on top of the facility,” according to association officials.

The Saguaro Building at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., was designed by SmithGroup to organize a wide array of program elements, and is located on a preserved desert campus. Its black box theater is designed as an iconic element to “punctuate the campus’ presence amongst surrounding stucco strip malls,” officials said. Its two-story lobby is designed to serve as the student union with a cyber café and terrariums, along with other student support space.

 Photo Credit: Bill Timmerman

The Merit category includes the Learning Spring School in New York, the Springfield Literacy Center in Springfield, Pa., Gary Comer College Prep in Chicago and Marysville Getchell High School in Marysville, Washington

Also recognized in the Merit category were Park Shops in Raleigh, N.C., the James I Swenson Civil Engineering Building in Duluth, Minn., and the Center for Graduate Fellows in Charlottesville, Va.

Featured in the Citation category were the Mothers’ Club Family Learning Center in Pasadena, Calif.,
St. Albans School’s Marriott Hall in Washington, D.C., and PACCAR Hall at the Foster School of Business in Seattle.

For more details on the award-winning sites, visit AIA’s website at