The Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) is a Knowledge Community of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). We are a large and active group of over 10,000 architects and allied professionals concerned with the quality and design of all types of educational, cultural, and recreational facilities that promote lifelong learning in safe, welcoming and equitable environments. The CAE’s mission is to foster innovative and collaborative design of educational facilities and to heighten public awareness on the importance of learning environments.
Last month 70+ architects, designers, and educators from across the United States convened in Dallas to celebrate and advocate for the importance of educational facilities. Our conference was also a celebration of one of AIA's Core Values: Community - We stand for architecture that strengthens our communities. During our four-day conference we explored unique educational facilities that have a profound impact on the communities they serve, by creating thoughtful and innovative environments.The theme of our conference was Pathways to Opportunity. So we focused on educational environments that offered a unique pathway to opportunity to their students. From Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, or TECC-W in Lewisville ISD, to Jandrucko Academy for Early Learners; all these spaces provided unique opportunities to their students and their communities. We visited great projects that have a profound impact, but the most memorable and meaningful experiences for me are the interactions with students, who shared their passions, their dreams and their time with us. Alongside those experiences, I also treasure the conversations with teachers and with our facilitators, Johno Oberly and Rachel Harrah, both former educators themselves. The passion and perspective our teachers and facilitators shared with us was immensely valuable. In our closing session we discussed how what we learned and experienced in those four days cannot stay with the 70+ people that attended. It's the beginning of a ripple. Later this year we will share some of our experiences in a webinar. More to come on that. The sites, the experiences, and the folks I meet is the reason that I keep coming back to the CAE conference every year. For architects and designers of educational facilities, there is no other conference or learning opportunity that offices the focus and intimacy of the CAE Spring Conference. I hope you can join us next year.
------------------------------Diego Barrera AIAWRA Architects, Inc.Dallas TX------------------------------
Thanks for the post, Diego--and for organizing a great few days.
My big takeaway was thinking about how all levels of education are intertwined to create a continuum--and that the strategies for creating compelling learning environments at all levels are linked. For example, as an architect who primarily works in higher education, I was most taken with the Academy for Early Learners--seeing and hearing the way that the team re-thought the project brief based on research, thoughful goals and objectives for the project and solid execution. Humans are at their best when they are in environments where they feel like they can be themselves. It made me think about how we might reconsider learning environments for a University level academic think-tank or even a residence hall.
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