Each subcommittee is pursuing research, articles, trends, and best practice information on the design of all types of learning environments.


Early Childhood Learning Environments Subcommittee

Subcommittee co-Chairs: Bruce Wardell, AIA and OPEN

The AIA Early Childhood Learning Environments Subcommittee was formed in 2011 and is focused on all aspects of preschool and early childhood facility design. It is becoming widely understood that very young children are not simply mini-adults, or even mini-schoolchildren.  They are different in many ways, and it follows that educational buildings for very young children are likewise not simply mini-schools.  The Early Childhood Learning Environment Subcommittee seeks to recognize and understand these fundamental differences, and make that information available to the members of the Institute so that buildings for young children can also be informed.  As a client group that is unable to directly verbalize their needs, wants and wishes, it is up to the architect to understand, to interpret, to innovate and to advocate for design that:

  • Inspires the lifelong learner in all children
  • Creates healthy safe and nurturing learning environments
  • Encourages sustainable and toxin free indoor and outdoor environments
  • Respects age-appropriate learning and developmental curricula
  • Supports both the young child and the adult caregiver simultaneously
  • Teaches environmental responsibility and stewardship

Childhood has its own way of seeing, thinking, and feeling and nothing is more foolish than to try and substitute ours for theirs.” Jean Jacques Rousseau.


K-12 Education Subcommittee
Subcommittee co-Chairs: Lisa Johnson, FAIA and Olivia Graf Doyle, AIA

The AIA K-12 Education Subcommittee was formed in 2009 and is focused on all aspects of primary, intermediate and secondary school design.  Our subcommittee has more than 100 members.

The subcommittee is charged with:

  • Identifying, performing, documenting, and disseminating research
  • Communicating with AIA CAE members
  • Coordinating with AIA CAE Conference chairs
  • Generating content for distribution to the CAE as a whole through an Article of the Month

Subcommittee members participate in monthly conference calls to develop, discuss, and coordinate subcommittee activities. Recent activities include investigations into the following:

  1. How are teachers taught to use technology in the classroom?
  2. How the President's Wireless Network initiative (WIN) might influence school planning.
  3. Update on the No Textbook School.
  4. How has the current state of the economy changed the planning priorities of school districts?


Higher Education Subcommittee
Subcommittee co-Chairs: Jason Forney, AIA and Mark N. Dolny, AIA

The subcommittee meets via conference call on the second Friday of the month. The subcommittee is pursuing research, articles, trends, and best practice information related to the following areas:

  • Higher Education Evaluation (benchmarking, evaluation, innovative learning environments and higher education as “think tanks”)
  • Master Planning (including agenda planning, sustainable growth planning, campus community, blurring of living/learning, community partnerships, and sense of place)
  • Process, Design and Sustainability (LEED, net zero and carbon neutral, integrated design)

Informal Learning Environments Subcommittee
Subcommittee co-Chairs: John Clark, AIA,  Osleide Walker and Anna Ninoyu, AIA

The CAE Alternate Learning Environments Subcommittee was formed in 2009 as the Subcommittee for Libraries, Museums, Interpretation Centers, Corporate and Convention Facilities, and is focused primarily on two areas of investigation: The changing paradigms of alternate learning environments as places of learning, research and teaching; Sustainable aspects on the design of alternate learning environments. The Subcommittee is charged with: Developing knowledge; Identifying, performing, documenting, and disseminating research; Communicating with the AIA CAE members; Coordinating with AIA CAE Conference chairs.

Research Task Force
co-Chairs: Dina Sorensen and Caroline Lobo, PhD, AIA

The Research Task Force aims to position research as a knowledge asset for the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education members and affiliated organizations by establishing a research agenda reflective of contemporary themes and needs. In addition to establishing an agenda; over the next nine months we will prioritize relevant topic domains, empower practitioners who are leading innovative design and research initiatives, define goals that promote the translation of expertise from outside disciplines into design and education, and provide relevant resources for members. Learn more on the CAE Research webpage.


Advocacy Task Force
co-Chairs: OPEN (Karina Ruiz, AIA)

As Architects interested in the design of educational facilities, we are in a unique position to advocate for those causes that impact architects, educators and learners across the country. We are forming a task force to consider where the CAE can provide advocacy at the local, regional and national levels and want to invite you to join us. If you are interested in being part of the group that develops our advocacy agenda and shapes the future for educational architecture, please express interest on web form below. 



Individuals interested in volunteering can express interest by completing the web form here or using the embedded form below: