Baltimore, MD (November 12, 2018) – On November 1, the AIA Baltimore Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) hosted a roundtable that brought together architects and teachers to discuss a multitude of issues relevant to the design of learning environments in K-12 schools and universities.
A major topic was special education. How can architects facilitate positive and neutral spaces? What makes a space negative? And how can architects influence the mood of a space through design?
The group discussed lighting in education spaces, especially special education spaces. Educators noted that controllable lighting makes a huge difference in controlling a classroom. The implementation of controllable, LED lighting should be a standard in all schools. Material choice was another topic. The group decided a follow-up conversation would be helpful to determine what materials are the best and safest for schools.
Flexibility of space was another big topic. A variety of space sizes are needed to facilitate different needs. Spaces need to shift as uses and needs change. Adjacency is also important: How can architects make sure special education students are not being isolated from the rest of the school, and also make sure that support spaces are located appropriately? CAE would like to be able to enable these discussions to happen, including possibly holding a tour Forbush School.
Other topic areas discussed included multi-use possibilities for schools as community anchors, and design and school safety. For an example of multi-use with an emphasis on community engagement, see 2018 AIA Baltimore Social Equity Design Award winner Dorothy I. Height Elementary School designed by Cho Benn Holback + Associates, a Quinn Evans Company. For more on how architects are incorporating school safety in a way that fosters health and learning, see the recent local news coverage featuring Jim Determan, FAIA and Jim Brotman, AIA.
Thank You to the Event Sponsors